I had the news on, which by the way I don’t watch very much, because it turns me into this “other person”. My ears perked up when I heard them speaking of the “impending epidemic of obesity due to hit us in 2030!” Presently 34% of adults in the U.S. are obese, classified as someone who is 45 kg., over ideal weight. The reporter talked about how for every other epidemic we create a vaccine, but what to do about obesity? Uggg, I did more normal and started talking to the “people” on the TV, yep that’s me the crazy veg head telling the “box” what is wrong. I suppose at this point I should have closed the windows so my neighbors couldn’t hear me telling the reporter what was wrong! She shared about adding an hour a day of exercise to the school day, and that wow wasn’t it great that McDonald’s has put an apple and less fries in their Happy Meal, these things weren’t going to change the impending epidemic enough, we need to get back to the basics of teaching good health!! At this point my voice is quite raised. The reporter talks of the government to get involved mandating these things… yea that will help!
I was done, I had to go for a run and ponder this little soundbite of news that wasn’t really news to me.
After I cooled off, had a wonderful time preparing veggiehead dinner, I sat down to read my e-mails… there was the next news item of interest that led to this post. “Texas Hospital Won’t Hire Obese Workers” wow, a healthcare institution taking a stand? I listened to the MD speaking,nstating that this will never really work, prejudice, getting into someones personal life etc. I looked further into this. The hospital is Citizens Medical Center, they require that your BMI be less then 35%. This particular hospital isn’t totally looking at health with this, but image that the patients want, which I am not sure I agree with. I do agree with presenting to patients what good health looks like, lowering the cost of insurance if employees are healthy and having my coworkers show up for work because they are healthy and take care of themselves!
My emotions on this are mixed as I have many friends who struggle with their weight, especially in the healthcare community, however a lot of the “seasoned” nurses used to be smokers too, and smoked in the hospital. That was banned and while it was hard, people didn’t take it as a discrimination thing as this will be. I care a lot about my co-workers and it breaks my heart to see them not always making a choice to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
I need to interject that also on this day I had a patient who, by no prompting from me started talking about how he thinks there may be something to this “eating well for your health.” This coming from a Type 1 diabetic who had just had a few toes removed due to his disease. He was not overweight, many Type 1 diabetics aren’t, but he commented on the fact that some of the most unhealthy people he had seen lately were the one’s caring for him in the hospital! He said as a person who has been in the healthcare system for most of his life that it is real hard to listen to someone telling you to do better when they look like “hell” as he put it, all tired and puffy, and huffing down the hall. That spoke volumes to me, and then to see this article… wow.
Weight is personal, it is hard, but it is not impossible to get a handle on. After talking to this patient I learned something I never thought of before, my patients are watching me. I have a responsibility to live out what I try and teach them. This spills over into my life in other areas too…, I was humbled, and energized in my commitment to health once again.
I cannot imagine my place of employment taking a stance like this one in TX., we would loose a lot of employees. In the past year they have been working on ideas to make it a healthier place to work. Some healthier foods have shown up in the cafeteria, they offer different exercise classes, and sadly for me, pushing the myplate.gov concept. It’s a start. My prayer is that maybe I will speak loud enough at work instead of talking to the “box aka TV” and a revolution might start in my own work environment. Won’t you join me?
Off to make a difference in my little “mission field”