Tuesday, May 8, 2012

America's curious commitment to self-destruction

Obesity in adolescents….
The news item that grabbed my attention this morning has to do with America’s latest deadly epidemic. New numbers predict that 42% of us will be classified as obese by the year 2030.
I am not going to respond to this in terms of FAT versus SKINNY. Those words are highly subjective and loaded with judgement; such language misses the fundamental issue entirely.
$$$$: What I am concerned about is public health, the social impact of disease, and – always – the ongoing challenge of living a fully engaged life that both honors the Creator and enjoys creation.
The cost of obesity is both staggering and growing. Today’s obesity percentage is 36%. The estimated dollar impact of the additional 6% alone is expected to reach $550 billion over the next two decades. Overall, the cost in terms of medical resources is so high that some experts estimate eliminating obesity would cover 100% of the medical needs of America’s uninsured.
sad but true
EXCELLENCE: One of the early chapters in my new book, “10 Life-Charged Words,” takes a look at the idea of excellence. Simply put, I believe that a commitment to excellence across the board is a valid spiritual discipline. Why? because excellence celebrates what is good while simultaneously minimizing the dangers of excess.
This is a principle that addresses over-consumption on every level. Not just food, but wealth, consumer goods, and anything that people substitute for what really satisfies.
  • America has an obesity problem that goes well beyond the mere overconsumption of calories. We gorge ourselves on everything.
MECHANICS: The mechanics of the problem look like this. People eat – for example – to be satisfied. Eating “junk” food is high on calories but low on real satisfaction. Consequently, people eat more because their basic need is not addressed;  the calorie problem is compounded but they get no closer to satisfaction. Eventually, people become habituated (or addicted) to poor quality food. Then it’s “more” “more” “more” even thought the root need for satisfaction is never realized.
Advertising, meanwhile, repeats blatant lies, over and over again, convincing people that this is what they really want.
LIFESTYLE: Meanwhile the same scenario plays out in terms of lifestyle:
  • “Buy expensive cars and you’ll be happy!”
  • “Upgrade your house and your family will be picture-perfect.”
  • “Dress in these clothes and you will find real confidence!”
  • “Load up on consumer goods because that is where you will find happiness!”
And so we do. And (of course) we’re not really satisfied. Yet we become habituated to the game (addicted) and the messages keep coming. So we gorge ourselves on what will not/cannot satisfy and we become obese, bloated with things.
we’re raising our children to learn the wrong valued!
SOLUTION: The solution is elegant. Eat a well-prepared 5-ounce steak, for example, accompanied by some fresh asparagus and half a baked potato, and the excellence of the meal will satisfy. Consequently, there will be no need to overeat in order to become satisfied.
Turn our attention to the things of the Spirit, as another example, seeking God and living a life of a disciple of Jesus, and there will be no perceived need to focus so much energy and time and desperation on the accumulation of things that have never in the history of the word offered the satisfaction the advertisers claim…..
Much more on this in my new book.
CONCLUSION: “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6

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