Whose Business is Your Body?

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  • Can you imagine having to weigh in on your job and then getting a letter letting you know whether or not you’re overweight?  The thought almost sends me straight to vending machine for Cheez-Its.

    CVS is just one company in this country that requires every one of its nearly 200,000 employees using its health plan to submit their weight, body fat and glucose levels.  Those who choose not to are fined $50 per month.

    It isn’t only corporate America using these tactics to call attention to our weight and its effect on our over all health.

    Nineteen states have begun conducting annual weigh-ins for students and testing their Body Mass Index. Their measurements are mailed to parents informing them of whether or not their child is overweight.

    My first reaction to both of these stories was probably like many of yours.  What happened to our right to privacy, and if your pursuit of happiness includes a double cheeseburger for lunch, who’s to say you can’t have it?

    While I can understand the need for companies to want their employees to be as healthy as possible, how can it be mandated? Yes, many diseases stem from obesity, and yes companies should play a role in helping their workers be proactive and take preventive steps like losing weight.  But a lot of diseases and ailments are hereditary and some are even environmental.

    But after I came down off my sugar high, I decided to look at it another way.   Something DOES have to give.  What WILL it take to make us a healthier leaner nation?  Can we make the changes we need to make on our own?

    A segment of our population is.  They’re eating more vegetables, they’re jogging daily, they’re reducing their portion sizes, they’re cutting way back on processed foods and they’re making sure their children are doing the same.

    Whoever they are, white, black, Asian, or Latino, they’re the ones we’ll be competing with for spots  on jobs and admission to colleges and universities.   If employers and college administrators are now charged with choosing healthier candidates who do you really think will be left behind?

    We make a lot of excuses for not eating better. When it was announced that Whole Foods was opening up a store in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, the TJMS got lots of texts about why it isn’t affordable.  Whole Foods IS expensive, but there are certainly some affordable choices we can make.

    Is it easier to complain about our community’s food deserts –areas where healthy, affordable food is almost impossible to get?

    If we don’t change our mindset and voluntarily choose to expose are kids to a healthier lifestyle it’s not only going to impact them physically, it’s going to impact them economically too.

    We me may not want our companies or schools involved but that doesn’t mean we can afford to ignore the facts. Heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes are the leading causes of death for African-Americans.

    From the First Lady Michelle Obama to that girlfriend of yours who’s always sending you kale recipes, the message is loud and clear that it’s time to do better.

    Some times it’s lack of time, money and education stopping us from eating better.

    If you or your children are overweight what is your biggest challenge? And if you have some solutions share those too…including more kale recipes.

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