On any given day,
- nearly one out of two American women and one out of four American men are on a diet;
- over $50 billion is spent each year on dieting and diet-related products;
- four out of five 10-year-olds are worried about getting fat; and
- 33 percent of children are overweight.
Despite the attention and expense, we’re getting fatter. So what’s a country to do? Some countries have created their own solutions:
- Japan is measuring the waistlines of all citizens. Those who exceed the limit are required to attend classes and make healthy lifestyle changes.
- Mexico has introduced a national campaign to lose weight titled Vamos Por Un Million de Kilos, or Let’s Lose a Million Kilos.
- France has introduced a community-based initiative titled EPODE (Ensemble, Prēvenons l’Obésité Des Enfants, or Together, Let’s Prevent Obesity in Children). Successful in thinning children in the two pilot villages, the program has expanded to 113 villages.
Our national educational efforts, while laudable, are insufficient to trigger positive changes on a day-to-day basis. To trigger changes on a grand scale, we need a project far more imaginative than anything we’ve tried so far.
If we can harness our collective talent to put a man on the moon, surely we can direct our talents to create a fun-filled, dynamic U.S. fitness promotion campaign. If we can spend $700 billion to solve problems in the financial community, can’t we find a few million dollars to address a health concern that touches the lives of a majority of our citizens?
Let’s call the program Fit in America. Under this umbrella heading, leaders can organize group weight-loss programs that respond to the needs of each community. Fit in Atlanta can compete with Fit in Dallas. Fit in San Francisco can challenge Fit in Chicago.
Besides losing weight, we can also reinforce the sense of belonging. Being part of a larger effort will help rebuild the cohesiveness of the American people and shrink the gap resulting from the increasing polarization that has diminished our trust in one another.
Working together to lose weight and become fit, we will reaffirm that it is more fun to create than to tear down. We will discover that our differences are less important than our similarities are.
What do you think? Are you ready to bring Fit in America to a town near you?
"To pull together is to avoid being pulled apart" Bob Allisat
Note: “Funding Needed For Obesity Program in the U.S.A.” appeared October 21, 2008 on www.basilandspice.com. A similar article titled “Fit in America: Coming to a Town Near You?” appeared on www.gotogabby.com on October 17, 2008.