Advocating healthy choices for life is just the beginning.
Seguin, TX – For years, the dilemmas obesity has created in Americans have been substantially increasing. Despite endless awareness of the problem, Americans continue to pack on the pounds stopping nothing short of a super-sized cheeseburger and milkshake. The excess weight in Texas has become so large in proportion that the Texas Health Institute sites that “Texas adults are the 15th most obese population in the nation.” The Institute goes on to say that “the obesity epidemic knows no bounds as it impacts all socioeconomic strata, adults, children and adolescents.”
While obesity is a disease facing people of all ages, it appears that the epidemic is having significant impacts on the youth. Likewise, that’s exactly where people are beginning to draw the line and demand something change; no one wants to see an overweight and sick youth.
“In Seguin itself, we are trying [to educate children on healthy choices] through the school district,” Dane Boyle, Guadalupe Regional Wellness Center Director and San Antonio Fitness Expert, said. “In Seguin, I think they really are trying to do more things. I know that on elementary school campuses they are really trying to teach what they call lifetime fitness.”
Changes like this can generate positive results among a generation that has progressively been getting larger. The Texas Health Institute estimates that 42 percent of fourth graders in Texas are obese or overweight. This number, alarming enough as it is, is reflective in the statement the Institute makes regarding the predictability that obese children will become obese adults.
According to the Institute, “The U.S. Surgeon General’s Office reports that overweight children have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.”
With so much attention focused towards the younger generations, many wonder what’s out there for obese adults who are ready to make a change in their lives.
“I think that the group of people that are neglected in Seguin or Guadalupe County are the elderly because the baby boomers are aging, most of them have discretionary income, and they understand the benefit of nutrition and exercise, but in general, when you see the Bali’s commercial, you don’t see your mother or your grandmother in that commercial, you see [personal trainers],” Boyle said. “Seriously, those people are neglected.”
Losing weight in an environment full of fit, skinny people can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Thus, it’s hard for some people to make it to the gym when they feel like the only thing they’re getting out of it is being judged. The good news is you don’t need a gym and professional equipment to lose weight. Boyle suggests that owning a good pair of tennis shoes is a great way to start your weight loss journey.
“One of the things that I say personally is I can teach you what you need to know whether you ever come to the gym or not,” Boyle said. “If you have a decent pair of sneakers and you can walk in a safe neighborhood, you can get up and walk.”
Despite efforts to evolve Texas into a skinnier state county by county, the Texas Health Institute predicts, based on current obesity trends, that 15 million adults Texans will be obese by 2040. If current government and community programs concerning the obesity epidemic aren’t enough to catch your attention, this statistic should be. Nonetheless, Boyle and other researchers alike insist that this prediction doesn’t have to remain accurate.
“The research shows that 30 minutes of what they call moderate activity, so a moderate walk, every day will help diminish disease,” Boyle said. “And you can do it in bouts of 10 minutes. So one of the things I read, and I use it all the time, is if you work an eight hour day in your sedentary job, what if you got up for two minutes every hour and walked. That’s 16 minutes. How can you find 14 more minutes? Maybe you left your lunch in a cooler in your car and you walked back to get it, because you parked farther away in the parking lot or what if you use the ladies room or went to the water cooler on the other side of the office?”
Incorporating activity that gets you moving into your workday is an outstanding place for anyone to start. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention insists that “although physical activity is an integral part of weight management, it’s also a vital part of health in general.”
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, “being overweight increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other serious medical conditions that impact quality of life and have substantial economic consequences for out healthcare system.”
With so much at stake, educating yourself on healthy choices and disciplining yourself enough to make them seems like a significant choice you must make.
“As long as you have two good feet and two good legs, you can probably walk 30 minutes,” said Boyle. “I didn’t say walk a mile and a half, but you can motor.”
As Seguin and other cities in Texas continue to promote healthier choices via whatever means they have, citizens wonder if there is a positive future ahead.
“I think efforts are being made in the right direction [in Seguin],” Boyle said. “I think the Walnut Creek expansion project is awesome; they’ve been rewarded a grant for new sidewalks. I think that in elementary school, the people in place, the physical educators, are trying to make a difference. I think the fact that we’re lucky enough to have a wellness center here, where it’s not just about dollars and cents, it’s about health is just awesome.”
The obesity epidemic is exactly what it implies: a disease that’s sweeping communities across America and that many people are continually fighting. Nonetheless, putting one foot in front of the other, at whatever pace you feel comfortable, can make a difference.
“We’re definitely taking, literally, steps in the right direction but it’s a battle that we’re going to have to fight forever and ever I think,” said a determined Boyle. “So what I have to do as I get older is recruit younger people who are enthusiastic about health, who are passionate about it and continue to fight and continue to fight and continue to fight.”
This story was originally published at Guadalupe County and written by Kaysie Boomhower a senior communication studies major at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. Permission was granted by Boomhower prior to publication.