Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Our Supersized Kids"--This week's TIME

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
6w1d to pics--159#
Slept 11 hours (playing catch-up)

I was wandering around the magazines in the grocery store this afternoon, killing time, when I tripped up on this week's special health issue of TIME. I don't usually buy this mag, but I couldn't resist this particular draw. It's a subject that intrigues me. We are a nation growing ever fatter, leading the way for the rest of the world who is catching up fast. As usual, the medical community is behind the 8-ball, scrambling around trying to catch up with an epidemic grown out of control and getting worse. And, unfortunately, it's a medical community that, by-and-large, not only has no arsenal with which to fight, has lost the battle of the bulge themselves.

This issue goes in depth into rates of childhood obesity and recent hypotheses about its source and eventual cure. I would propose that our children are fat because we are fat. Rates of childhood obesity mirror those of adulthood obesity, following the same geographic, racial and socioeconomic trends. Working in the ER, and before when I had a clinic, seeing an obese child with a pair of normal-weighted parents was almost unheard of. The child almost always mirrors the parents' body habitus, which reflects his or her mirroring their physical and nutritional habits. Because the problem starts with the parents, I do not believe we can fully help these children without first educating and helping the parents. One will come about as a natural progression of the other.

But who will do this? Theoretically, if not moved by the media, the parents would be urged by their primary care providers to lose weight and be more active. Almost every plan for eliminating the scourge of obesity begins with healthcare providers. Herein lies the biggest part of the problem. Painfully few healthcare providers are healthy themselves, and even fewer of them have the foggiest idea how to lead another into a healthy lifestyle. When I graduated from medical school in 2000, I had had exactly one half of a semester of education on nutrition, taught by the least respected professor in the system and declared by my classmate who was a PhD in nutrition to be decades out-of-date and woefully inaccurate. We had no education on physical fitness--none. Everything I have learned about the treatments for obesity, nutrition, and physical fitness, I have done through independent study. And preventive medicine? We'll have none of that either.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has begun to address this issue with the AIM (Americans In Motion) Challenge which began in 2004 with a 3 phase program. In 2004, the Academy went to each state's scientific assembly to promote its AIM Challenge and gather research data about its physicians. That year, they encouraged physicians to become fit themselves. The second stage of the initiative was to get clinic staff involved. And, finally, after they had become role models, themselves, they could begin to change the lives of patients. This was later joined by the Ready, Set, Fit! program targeting schools and school-age children. As far as I know, this is the only medical academy that has taken responsibility for its personal role as models of fitness for patients. Unfortunately, support systems, further education, and follow-thru have been lacking. But it is a start.

I think about this issue a lot. Wanting to be a role model for patients and the community in which I live is a large part of the reason I started this difficult journey of weight loss yet again over a year ago now. Though I was active and fit, my words of wisdom about weight loss and physical activity often fell on deaf ears as people looked at me and doubted that I could possibly be as active as I claimed. Now, co-workers and patients who haven't seen me in a while ask me what I have done to get these results, and listen intently as I try to share as effectively as possible. I have opened a door otherwise closed to me and created an opportunity to effect some change in others. As I slowly approach my perceived endpoint,my thoughts now are turning to how I can use my own successes to influence others and begin to spread the joy a little.

Here are some links to the TIME articles:
"It's Not Just Genetics",9171,1813984,00.html

"How America's Children Packed On The Pounds",8599,1813700,00.html

"Weighty Issues for Parents",9171,1813953,00.html

"Living Large",9171,1813962,00.html

TODAY: Elliptical for 35 min. Week 2, Day 2 of push-ups.

Double 12kg C&P/Row: AMAP in 15 min.
I upped it by one this time and hit 60. That was humping it, though.

Then...12kg snatch, 1 min L/1 min R/1 min rest for 5 rounds.
I got 18-19 snatches each 1 min round which is down a couple or three reps for me. I was favoring that healing blister on my left hand, and for some reason the R wasn't going too fast, either. I'll do better Friday.

16kg Workout A
5 rounds of...
Row 30 sec L, then R
Rest 30 sec
Pushup 30 sec
Plank 30 sec
Rest 30 sec
Reverse Lunge L 30 sec, then R
Rest 30 sec.
Overall, this felt pretty strong, but my numbers aren't going up a lot. The change is coming in that they are consistent through the 5 rounds now where they dropped off a whole lot more during the first week or so.

Then... 12 sets of 5 double 12 kg snatches--Each started dead at the top of the minute.

Before bed I also did Week2 Day 1 of the pushup challenge. My max was 10, the minimum. I still believe I have a major brain block for these, but hopefully this exercise will get me past that.

SUNDAY'S WORKOUT: Walk 35 min.

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