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It is not often that a politician will stick his neck out and address a problem that, although 100 percent correct, is not popular with the masses.
Sen. Greg Gregory, I salute you. You have taken a position as a true leader and shown your constituency that not only do you recognize a health problem, but you have the courage to bring it forward to the people of your district with facts and directness.
Your information (in a Feb. 15 Carolina Gateway column titled “Look in mirror for improvement, not to legislators in Washington”) is an eye-opener to most and your financial facts are frightening. The “fattening of America” is a reality that we see every day. The costs to treat our obesity are only going to increase and the toll of human suffering, as we increase our girth, is only going to compound to the point that we will no longer be able to afford our pleasures.
I am as guilty as anyone and I don’t even try to control myself. How many of us are in this same position? We are playing a form of Russian roulette with our health and the conclusion of this game can only be negative.
Are we really aware of the diabetic factor looming over our future? Do we really understand the consequences of our out-of-control obesity?
We must take a proactive step to regain control of our health. As Gregory points out, the unpopular diet/exercise syndrome, although so important in all areas – health, financial, mental – is understood by most, but it is not, in reality, practiced by the majority.
Gregory has opened a can of worms and is challenging us to take back control of our lives.
By doing this, we will become healthier, more active and save billions of dollars of taxpayer funds. He is absolutely correct. Look in the mirror and face reality. We must step up and take control. We can no longer just sit back, relax and let someone else do it for us.
Gregory’s idea, to start at home, so to speak, is a strong approach. We have to start with the smaller picture, before we can move to the larger and reshape ourselves, before reshaping America.
Remember the days, when seniors, of which there are many in our district, would be outside playing games that were physical, using their bodies as well as their minds? Modern technology is partially the culprit in this state of affairs we find ourselves. But we must shoulder the responsibility for becoming sedentary. Our lives become easier on a daily basis, thanks to this technology. But easier is not necessarily better, especially when it affects our well-being.
Moderation is the key to our future. Take a bite of that doughnut, have that extra helping of mashed potatoes, visit your favorite fast-food establishment, but also walk that mile, go to the gym, push away from your computer, go outside and enjoy nature’s bounty. I am not saying give up your pleasures, I am saying do it in moderation.
By becoming healthier, we will also become wealthier. The billions of dollars our government currently spends on our medical programs could be redirected to areas that will get us back on our feet, as a nation.
It’s all in our hands. We must decide our directions, both personally and nationally.
My hat’s off to Gregory for having the courage to address this issue.
I would like to propose that Gregory establish an office to assist the people of our district in achieving the goals of defeating obesity and diabetes. Put together a program that will guide your constituents. We have many health-care professionals, as well as physical trainers and fun exercise programs available in the district. Gather them together under one roof, so to speak, and assist us in regaining our physical and mental strength.
Wouldn’t it be great to have our district lead a movement that could go national? It’s up to us. Sen. Gregory has thrown down the gauntlet. Do we have the fortitude to pick it up and run with it?
I would like to end this column with two quotes:
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.” - author and adventurer Robyn Davidson
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.” – Buddha