The Lack of Health Education

Posted on November 29, 2011 by

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In one of my previous blogs entitled “All about the Juice Diet”, there were many questions asked.  Many of which were critical of the general idea of the “Juice Diet.”  This is understandable.  Fad diets, I feel, have left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.  They tend to promise so much weight loss with little effort.  However, when many people try them they realize one of two things: this is not easy at all or these are not the results I wanted.  After reading some of the comments I was unsatisfied with myself because I felt like I left out so much information and I was unclear as to what I was trying to say.  Allow me to elaborate…

In the previous blog, I expressed my interest in the “Juice Diet” which I learned about through a documentary I watched.  What I took from the film was eye-opening to say the least.  One of the comments from the previous blog asked why, if I am not over-weight, would I, or anyone else for that matter, want to try something like this?  The fact of the matter is that most people in America have a very wrong sense of what being healthy is.  I am a 25 years old, six foot, and weigh 190 pounds.  Does this sound like a normal, healthy weight to height ratio?  Most of you might say yes, but in fact, while it is not terrible, it still falls under the over-weight range.  My body mass index calculates to be between 25 and 26 where a normal, healthy weight range for someone my age and height should be between 20 and 24.  In terms of weight, this means I should weigh between 145 and 180 which would also mean losing at least ten pounds.

I currently have an internship with a health and wellness company in South Bend.  Part of my job is to go through scantron cards and analyze the results of an individuals’ health screening compared to the answers they fill in on the card.  For an example, our nurses test various things such as cholesterol (good and bad), blood sugar, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, body fat percentage, BMI, etc.  The questions the patients answer on their cards have to do with their life style: do they smoke, exercise, eat healthy, etc.?  We then compare the results with their answers and show them how to make healthy changes (if they are not already living a healthy life) to their daily life.  It is called preventative medicine.  The question that sticks out the most to me when I analyze their cards asks “What do you think your current state of health is? Great, good, average, poor, or bad.”  In the three months I have worked there and hundreds of cards I have looked at, I never once noticed anyone answer poor or bad.  In fact, I frequently see people with a BMI greater than 30 and a body fat percentage of over 40% and they will still answer “Good!”  To put this into perspective, if I had a BMI of 30 I would have to add an additional 30 pounds to my, already over-weight, 190.

It is actually very upsetting at times, but this is what Americans have come to realize.  What actually is bad in terms of health, we look at as normal or even good.  There is a huge lack of health education around the country.  If people were better educated  on the health risks attributed with being over-weight and obese, there would be a lot less sickness and disease in the country.

There are many very simple things you can do to educate yourself.  The biggest thing you can do is read health articles.  Learn about what new studies have been done in the world regarding food and exercise.  One website that I have used and found very useful and informative is Livestrong.  This website contains many current health articles, healthy food recipes, and exercise tips.  One very useful feature the site has is called “My Plate.”  This tool allows you to track the food you eat and tell you its nutritional information so you can become more aware of the amount you actually are eating and what you are putting in your body.

The reason why diets do not work all the time may be because the people who try them want an easy way to get skinny or become healthy.  The truth is, it is not easy at all.  If you want to be healthy, skinny, ripped, or whatever, you have to work hard.  People around the world consider Americans to be lazy.  They portray Homer Simpson to be the typical American.  They are right.  We are lazy and that is why we are over-weight and why diabetes and heart disease are our number one ailments.  We need to stop looking for an easy way out.  The Juice Diet is really hard, but it works and it will help establish a healthy lifestyle.  I would say the harder the diet the better.  You have to learn mind over body or else successful, healthy living will be out of your reach.

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