The decision between what is right and what is easy continues to challenge Americans at an alarming rate.
Unusual for a developed nation, life expectancy in the U.S. is on the decline. A report from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation identified four reasons for declining life expectancy in the U.S.:
“Poverty and lack of education, access to health care, quality of medical care, and preventable risk factors.” Chief among the factors is obesity, which “… is linked to low incomes, lack of access to healthy food choices, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, and the dominance of fast-food outlets in poorer areas.”
Is there a desire to keep the lower and shrinking middle class, dumb, sick and poor?
Among industrial nations, the U.S. is the fattest, with over 102 million (one in three) Americans weighing in as obese. Another one third of the U.S. population is overweight. Only Tonga and Micronesia have people of larger girth. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. is home to over 30 percent of the world’s weight. This weight has consequences: greater economic waste, increased environmental destruction, social exclusion and shortened lifespan. George Washington University researchers “found the annual cost of being obese to be $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.” That amounts to over $377 billion a year or $1,258 per capita.
Reality shows with the lowest level of content are widespread. Special events clamor for attention and resources nearly every weekend, sponsored by unhealthy businesses or organizations that just want to market and then turn around and pass the cost off on the unwitting consumer. Unscrupulous marketers, from Skechers, which claimed simply wearing their shoes would make you fit to Nutella which asserted spreading chocolate on toast was a healthy way for kids to begin their day to the Cookie Diet which professed eating cookies was the solution to obesity and weight control, hawk loony, unrealistic and damaging ideas at any cost. Most problematic is the gullibility of an American audience who embraces, participates in and generally believes it.
In the U.S. you can lead a horse to water and make it drink the Koolaid! Meanwhile programs and activities that help go wanting for participants. Are we really that ignorant?
In the 1976 film Network, Mr. Beale , observant of the many problems confronting American society, asked people to get up out of their chairs open their windows and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” This is what needs to happen today. And then, Americans need to act!
A native westerner, Dr. Michael Bittner brings a complementary blend of western practicality, free spirit and authenticity to teaching, fitness, interior design and organizational management to his role as co-founder and managing partner of ZenSpot, Inc., a holistic lifestyle, design and education company, whose mission is to empower people to be themselves. Viewing overall health as a combination of fitness, diet and balance between work, home and personal time, Michael emphasizes the importance of caring for the internal body and simultaneously organizing the external environment. Through these efforts balance is achieved enabling the mind, body, spirit to operate at their optimal level. Prior to ZenSpot, Bittner held academic and executive posts in research, teaching and administration in Washington, California and New York. Bittner earned a Ph.D. and master’s degrees in education in the social studies from the University of Washington with supporting areas of study in urban design and planning and global trade, transportation and logistics. Bittner holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boise State University where he graduated magna cum laude and received a secondary teaching credential from the State of Idaho. Bittner possesses a graduate credential in Feng Shui Interior Design and Interior Design from the Sheffield School of Interior Design in New York City. Michael is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, having completed training through the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga; is a certified specialist in yoga for children; a life coach with the International Coaching Federation, a holistic stress management coach through The Spencer Institute and a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist through NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association). Bittner is certified in First Aid and CPR by the American Red Cross.
Editor: Evan Livesay