A nation in crisis by: Aria Lightfoot


In the year 2030, it is estimated that 42% of Americas will be obese.  The dire health effects of such a prediction is billions of US dollars treating preventable diseases. In Belize our diet and lifestyle is starting to reflect the US.  McDonalds, Dominos Pizza and KFC are inching closer to Belizeans’ reach.  I am not sure what the statistics are for Belize, but it is evident that we are a nation with a health crisis.    Obesity causes diabetes (#1 killer of Belizeans); Kidney problems, heart disease, strokes, certain cancers, sick days from work, more hospital and doctor visits,  lower immunity, self esteem issues and an impaired quality of life.

We are a fun-loving, drinking, enjoying great tasting food culture of people in Belize, however,  we cannot sustain our health with carefree living and eating. We are dying too young.   It is imperative that we begin to address our health crisis and teach our children the importance of daily exercise and making important food choices.

I use to play basketball and volleyball, didn’t have a weight issue but trust me when I say, I love food. After moving to the US in a more sedentary lifestyle I have packed on the pounds.  I know what I should do but eating good food , drinking sweet drinks and excusing myself from working out eventually took its toll. I am determined to do something about it.  One doctor on NBC challenged people to  look around and see how many Fat old people there are. Obese people die about 20 to 30 years earlier.   And it is not only early death, it is reduced quality of life with chronic illness.  We have to stop blaming genes, or celebrating “bigness” because it takes away from personal responsibility.  We are responsible for the food we bring into our homes and the foods we shove into our mouths.

Admittedly it is not only the American food. We have some very delicious food in Belize with very high sodium content, no real veggies and we drink a lot of soda and alcohol.  Rice/beans, potato salad, panades, garnaches, ducunu, meat pie, potato pound, bread pudding, chow mien, fry chicken, fries, and soda should not be our daily food intake.  We are slowly poisoning our system and we need to take control.

Presently in the United States, the Federal Government predicts an expensive crisis developing. They are attempting to starve off the effects of obesity with educational advertisements which encourages parents to let kids play outdoors for at least an hour daily. The First Lady of the United States has made it her mission to get people off their fat asses.  Please see http://www.choosemyplate.gov for some tips and ideas of what a healthy daily meal should look like.  The food pyramid has been replaced with the food plate so that people can see how their plate should look when having meals. 

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 The Ministry of Health in Belize has a nutrition page at  http://health.gov.bz/www/publications/nutrition.  Your health is one of the most important aspect of your life and worth the investment.  You control your well being. Not your fat family. Stop making excuses. 

The benefits of working out and eating right are: longer life, less chronic diseases, active healthy  life, less stress, a higher sex libido and stamina;  and according to Doctor Oz, for every 30 pounds a man loses, he gains an inch in penis size.J Men and women can appreciate that benefit!

I am presently engaged in a twelve week challenge to redefine my eating and working out habits. I belong to a support group with professional trainers and nutritionist. I am trying to break old habits and get back to the days when I would go hiking, running, swimming, basketball, volleyball and feeling alert and feeling healthy. I encourage everyone today to start the first step to healthier you and please teach your children the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Other beneficial websites are: http://www.doctoroz.com/diet-and-weight-loss-center; http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/healthy-eating-overview

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