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Dick Palmer: Obesity fight is gaining weight

This is not a new problem, but obesity in this country is out of hand. It is troubling to see the headlines and reflect on the consequences associated with overweight people and their impact on society as a whole. Even though it would appear figh...

This is not a new problem, but obesity in this country is out of hand. It is troubling to see the headlines and reflect on the consequences associated with overweight people and their impact on society as a whole. Even though it would appear fighting obesity is a thankless challenge, there is hope as more and more people seem to be ready and willing now to change their lifestyles for their own good and probably more importantly, for the good of their loved ones.

The American Public Health Association says 61 percent of Minnesota adults are overweight or obese, 25 percent of Minnesota adults report not getting physical exercise,and a whopping 76 percent of Minnesota adults confess they eat less than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Figures don't lie, and the startling fact is that we, in America, are experiencing an obesity epidemic. Here are some startling facts: Nationwide, about 66 percent of adults are overweight, quite similar to the Minnesota figures listed here. Fifteen percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 years are overweight, and this figure has tripled over the past two decades.

Obesity is synonymous with heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Other bad byproducts of obesity are reflected by cancer, diabetes and muscle problems. Obesity costs Americans more than $117 billion per year.

Citing figures and showing charts probably does little to focus our attention on the dangers of not maintaining a healthy outlook on life utilizing proper eating and exercise regimens. But please, look at the alternatives and how those alternatives affect your family and other loved ones. Look at the opportunities you may never experience by not taking all this obesity stuff seriously.

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When you are young, you are indestructible and few will dispute that theory. However, as the years pass and you enter the so-called "golden years," you begin to see the physiological changes in your body. You look in the mirror and you ask yourself, "What happened?" You turn sideways, sneak a glance, close your eyes and shudder to yourself.

That distasteful sight is only part of the reality of the moment. The unanswered part is what do you intend to do with your remaining time on this Earth? Are you willing to continue rolling the dice or are you willing to put your mind in gear and reflect on the many options you may have and why those options are so important to you and your loved ones.

Because I am a heart patient, I have had many opportunities to look in the mirror. Too often I don't like what I see, and I realize how lucky I have been just being able to look in that mirror.

How about you? When you look in your mirror, reflect on the loved ones who truly need you and will walk that extra mile to support you. Speaking of walking, that's the ticket along with proper diet and exercise. You don't have to train for Grandma's Marathon to make things happen.

Look in that mirror again, set some goals and let your doctor know what you are up to. He or she will help when needed. Good luck.

Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached by telephone at 729-6470 or by e-mail at rpalmer@duluth.com .

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