We hear so much nowadays about the evil that is obesity. While I do not disagree that obesity is a major health problem that is associated with many, many ailments, I feel that there is a misguided and even unfair focus on obesity per se. Obesity is the outward manifestation - the symptoms - of the real problem.
Are we picking on the obese because they are an obvious and easy target? Obvious? - Yes! Easy target? - Yes! Right target? - Wrong!
I was repeatedly reminded of this during our recent holiday in the far North of sunny Queensland, Australia during their school holidays. Australia has some serious problems looming with its young people - America, move over - here come the Aussies! I have never seen so many soft young bodies in my life, as I did on the Queensland beaches. Sure, there were many obese kids and young adults; but these were the minority. The majority were bodies that, while they would have fallen mostly within healthy BMI ranges, exhibited total lack of body tone - soft bodies - bodies that have little musclulature, weak cardiovascular systems, high levels of body fat and weak skeletons.
I have said many times over the years that thin people also get cancer, have heart attacks and get sore backs.
There are plenty of people who are quite "fat" yet are very strong and have a high cardiovascular capacity. These people are those born with a genetic body type that has high endomorphic and mesomorphic characteristics - many of our Polynesian people, for example. They stay healthy if they eat well and exercise hard. These endo-mesos will only ever achieve pencil thinness at the risk of anorexic death. Regardless of body type which can never be altered, the real health risk is if one is raised soft, thus producing what I call Soft Body Syndrome (SBS).
SBS is the leading health issue facing most, if not all developed countries. Targetting food manufacturers - MacDonalds, Coca Cola, no matter how commendable that might be, or trying to get kids to eat less - is not the real solution to SBS. All this will produce is thnner SBS's which one could argue is actually a less healthy condition than an "over weight" case.
The answer to the problem is daily physical activity and the best thing we could do to get the ball rolling in the right direction is introduce daily physical activity for children in schools, beginning with pre-school centres. Compulsory because the majority of young adults nowadays, including teachers, know little else other than positionally static behavours.
We cure SBS by endowing our children - boys and girls - with Hard Bodies.