Awareness is the First Step
You’ve probably noticed a change in my social media posts this past week. Rather than looking for things to inspire and support you, this week I’ve been using my platform to try and bring awareness about the resources out there to treat and prevent obesity.
Obesity is a disease that affects all of us. If you don’t struggle, chances are really high that someone you care about deeply suffers from this disease. In addition to affecting the individual health of people, this disease is costing our country billions of dollars. Billions of dollars in direct healthcare costs. Billions of dollars in lost productivity, in worker’s comp claims, in short-term and long-term disability.
Sadly, despite the clinical data, most people today view excess weight under the lens of personal responsibility – as though people with obesity are either too stupid to fix their problem or to lazy to do it. We not only apply this concept to others that are struggling, but we believe it of ourselves. Viewing obesity through this lens is not only hurting us individually – psychologically and emotionally – but it’s preventing us from treating this disease the way it deserves to be treated – as a disease.
The Obesity Action coalition is working tirelessly to create a society that understands, respects and accepts the complexity of obesity. They are trying to bring awareness to the fact that obesity is a disease that should be treated with science and clinically-based care – just like other chronic diseases.
Unless we change the way we think about this problem – individually and collectively, we aren’t going to do anything to help turn the tide. If you struggle with weight or the people you care about struggle with weight, stop the personal responsibility monologue that we’ve been taught for so many years and start learning the science.
You’ve probably all heard me say that you can’t change something until you understand it. Give this subject ten minutes of your time every week. The average American now spends over two hours every day scrolling through social media. Instead of all of that time being devoted to news (or fake news), silly videos of people dancing or simply trolling through friends’ pages to see what they are up to, spend ten minutes each day learning something about obesity. It will benefit someone in your life – if not you, then a family member, a friend, or a close colleague.
If you don’t want to scroll back through social media, here are links to some of the Obesity Action Committee’s infographics.
Sometimes we are the ones that need help. Sometimes the person sitting across from us needs our help. A rising tide lifts all boats. This is what we do in our clinic every day. My staff and I work tirelessly every day, trying to help people with obesity and metabolic disease. We are fighting the good fight. If you want or need to join us, send us an email or give us a call.
Courtney Younglove, M.D.