The most obvious truth that most people in the world seem to be ignoring is that our country and our world will never change until WE decide to change. The health and maturity of our nation and our world is determined by the health and maturity of the individuals who live in our nation and in our world. As we all answer the challenge to become healthier and more mature in our lives, we realize that we need to grow in every major area of our lives. During the next few weeks, we will be examining eight areas of our lives: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, relational, vocational, financial, and global (mission/purpose, values, vision and strategies that affect every area of our lives). We will also examine sociologically how the USA and the world are doing in these eight areas, and determine what we all need to do and become in these areas in order to change our world.
Just as Maslow viewed the physical needs of civilization as the most foundational in our thinking, we will also begin with this most obvious need to be addressed and the easiest to change – the physical area of our lives. The way many Americans eat and live, you would think that they had a secret death wish. Over 65% of Americans are overweight and America brags that it “runs on Dunkin” (that’s Dunkin Doughnuts for the rest of the world). It would be interesting to know how the other nations of the world are keeping up with America pound for pound, or kilo for kilo. Our exportation of fast foods can’t be helping the situation globally.
In 2008, a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore examined 20 studies published in journals and analyzed national surveys of weight and behavior. After their study, they determined that if people in the USA continue to gain weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75 percent of U.S. adults overweight and 41 percent obese. According to Dr. Youfa Wang, who led the study, “Obesity is becoming a public health crisis. If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of U.S. children and adolescents will be overweight or obese."
Surveys reveal that eighty percent of Americans believe that physical exercise is vital for good health, but research shows that only 17% actually exercise regularly! Two of the major excuses given as to why most people don’t exercise are that they don’t have enough time and they don’t have enough money.
In respect to time, it’s nothing more than an excuse. Many of the people who insist that they are too busy to exercise spend much time sitting in front of the television or computer, with the only exercise being the occasional walk to the bathroom and the lifting of their arms to eat some snacks and drink a few beers or cokes. Both add lots of weight, by the way. The average American watches over four hours of television daily. If only one of these hours was exchanged for physical exercise, it could transform the shape of our nation within a year. We are all busy in our lives, but the fact is that we spend time on what we value most. It's time that we began valuing our health, our lives and our families, and proved it with our use of time.
Many people who make the excuse that they can’t afford the cost of fitness club memberships, spend much more each month eating out and will actually spend much more in their lifetime on medicine for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other illnesses that stem from their latent lifestyle. As the commercial used to say, “You can pay me now or pay me later”. Later almost always costs more and it is much wiser to prepare than repair.
Without question, it’s time for a fitness revolution in the United States of America and throughout the world. Our lives and the lives of our children depend on it. If we cannot change the way that we eat and the way that we live physically, how can we even begin to think about changing the more complex and internal aspects of our lives and our nations? Let’s all take a long look in the mirror, then go out and do something about what we see. The fitness revolution begins with me!