*Warning: impending rant and language.
Australia is one of the fattest countries on earth and many people erroneously suggest that education is the answer to our national obesity problem. Really? Consider these two facts:
Fact 1: In 2014, we have more education, information, awareness, policies, programs and getting-in-shape (type) resources, than any other time in history.
Fact 2: In 2014, we’ve never had more obesity.
As an educator (of sorts), of course I’m pro-education but if education was the stand-alone answer, we’d be getting collectively leaner and lighter by the day because, as a group, we’ve never had more education about nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and the associated health bits-n-pieces. We’re bombarded with it. Well, clearly it isn’t (the answer) and clearly, we’re not (leaner). Of course some people won’t like this message because it doesn’t fit well with what they’re selling or espousing but beyond the conflicting opinions, philosophies and models for change, what really interests me is what’s happening in our country. I’m interested in what I see every time I go to the beach or shopping centre. Take a look around and you’ll see that the lack of a positive correlation between education and obesity is not an idea or a theory; it’s an ever-present physical reality. In fact, if I’m being cheeky, there is a positive correlation… as education has increased, so too has the prevalence of obesity.
And no, I’m not suggesting a causal relationship (A caused B) but just that it’s an interesting observation.
I’m of the not-very-popular opinion that, as a nation of first-world privileged people with easy access to all kinds of unhealthy crap, lack of education is not our problem. We are our problem. Specifically our thinking, choices, behaviours, habits and our addiction to pleasure, shortcuts, comfort and procrastination. Of course knowledge is important but information without application is powerless, pointless and changes nothing.
Well, maybe it’s time for some courageous health professionals to stand up and say something real and relevant like…
“Hey you!.. stop doing dumb shit to your body and then curiously, wondering how you got fat and unhealthy. Come on!! Stop embracing bad behaviours and habits, stop making irresponsible choices, stop wasting your time and genetic potential, stop making pathetic excuses, stop rationalising your unhealthy lifestyle, stop being so precious, stop getting offended every five minutes, stop looking for the shortcut, stop throwing in the towel every time things get uncomfortable and once a for all… do the f*cking work.”
If you’re a health professional, feel free to omit the bad language.
*Steps down from soap box… returns to hammock.