Prominent leaders in academia, government and healthcare
Okay, I confess, the puns were intentional. In May of 2012, HBO aired a multi-night special entitled, “Weight of the Nation.” In my opinion, it was pretty much worthless when it came to helping people take charge of their health and lose weight. I wrote several blogs about it and you can see the links below. But I will tell you here what I remember most.
One of the leading officials in the video was a morbidly obese man (shown here). And guess what? He is arguably our nation’s leading authority on obesity. Armed with a fancy title at Yale University, he spends his day giving out advice about controlling obesity—advice that is clearly not working for him.
But Dr. Brownell is not alone when it comes to “fighting obesity with obesity.” There are plenty of waistlines to go around in our world of big-time healthcare. How about Dr. Regina Benjamin, our nation’s Surgeon General (pictured below). How can we fight the war on obesity—when our leaders’ waistlines are the enemy?
How important is the messenger when it comes to promoting health? In my opinion, the messenger is very important when it comes to our leaders in the crucially important process of “taming the healthcare monster” in the USA and the world. We taught the world how to get fat—now we must teach them how to get healthy. And we need to put our best foot forward.
As for the messenger, can you imagine going to a weight-loss clinic that has obese trainers? How about taking lifestyle advice from a doctor who’s taking five prescription drugs and has a 40-inch waistline? How about going to a cosmetologist who has out-of-control acne? No, no, no. We all want to learn from teachers and coaches who model the behavior and exhibit the qualities that we want for ourselves.
Obesity is a big problem (and still growing) in America, in the rest of the western world and now in Asia. The experts are projecting that by 2030—a whopping 44% of Americans will be obese. That’s when some of our states, like my boyhood home of Mississippi, will have a population that is nearly 2/3 obese. Obesity is now trending to become the new normal.
Growing at about one percentage point per year, that equates to adding almost 10,000 people to the obese ranks—every single day in the United States.
Managed care & Hospital Sector. The biggest player in this field (there goes that pun again) is the CEO of the nation’s largest healthcare company. Not sure what he’s getting paid, but it’s safe to say that it is well north of the industry average of $10.3 million a year in 2011 (According to Becker’s Hospital Review).
The Bottom Line. These images of our nation’s most prominent generals in the war on obesity should be like a “blinding flash of the obvious.” Something is terribly wrong with our approach to obesity—and healthcare in general in this country.
Could part of the reason be that the “experts” that we have running the most important pieces don’t have a clue how to taking charge of their own health? It all begins with LEADERSHIP. We must correct this mess by putting some healthy people in charge—healthy people who look healthy and know how to help other people become healthy.
How about noted author and health promoter, Dr. John McDougall? I would wager that he has helped more people take charge of their health than any other person—ever. And he has publicly declared himself a candidate for the role of Surgeon General. He did so in the middle of this one hour video (October 2012), wherein he explains an innovative solution to our nation’s healthcare crisis.
As for our presidential election 11 days from now, my own voting decision was made months ago. But I would vote for the other guy if he promised to appoint Dr. John McDougall as our Surgeon General in January. (This is my 629th consecutive daily blog)
One more thing. I find that it’s difficult to find full-length photos of famous people, who happen to be obese. They tend to be somewhat camera-shy and prefer to use professional head-shots for the media. But there’s no hiding from the camera in this picture. The man in the khaki pants is our nation’s foremost authority on obesity.
A few of my earlier blogs on this topic:
- HBO Obesity Special: How important is the messenger?
- “The Weight of the Nation” HBO Special — A Preview
- HBO Obesity Special—”NOTHING NEW” says L.A. Times
- HBO Special Bottom Line—Confusion over Clarity
- Connecting the dots: FOOD . obesity . diabetes . Alzheimer’s!
- “Forget BMI, just measure your waist and height”
- Obesity—now threatening the future of the planet
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The ”big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation