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The article in Time Magazine about Obesity raised my blood pressure!

Posted by Kathy G on 6/04/04 at 18:52 (152047)

I still haven't finished it but this week's Time Magazine has a long section on the national obesity epidemic. So far, it's quite interesting and informative. It's filled with charts and graphs that I've skipped ahead to look at. What irritates me is that in the pie chart that asks people about regular exercise, there is no category for reasons not to exercise such as 'physically limited' or 'limited exercise due to physical problem' or some such thing.

I am still not officially overweight but I have gained twenty-five pounds in the ten years I've had PF. I can't lift weights because of deQuervains tendonitis and arthritis in my hands. I can walk on a limited basis, albeit more than I could a year ago, but not like I did pre-PF. I can't do the exercises for my legs and thighs I used to do on my husband's weight machine because my right foot goes numb when I do them. I can't swim in a chlorinated pool because I'm allergic to chlorine. But, by God, I'm not stupid and I know how to eat a healthy diet and I used to exercise regularly. I am physically unable to exercise as I did before PF. It is, for many of us, one of the most frustrating aspects of PF and it's not the only condition that limits people's physical activity. You'd think that a national publication would realize that.

I'm seriously thinking of writing them a letter and pointing out that there are some people who are heavier than they want to be, and it's not due to limited intelligence, income or willpower.

Sorry, but this is a good place to vent and articles like this just make me angry and frustrated! I guess it's kind of like rubbing salt in a wound. I need to go and do some of Julie's yoga stretches to calm me down. Those, by the way, are the exercises I can do every single day. I'm still a little limited on the ones I can do but I try!

It is a good article, if you ignore those glaring ommissions. The increase in overweight children is particularly alarming. I feel especially bad for those who live in areas of the inner city where going to a supermarket isn't even an option because there are none. I saw part of a Nightline show that showed a low-income neighborhood in Detroit where all the markets had burnt down in the riots and they haven't been rebuilt. There are, however, McDonalds, Burger Kings and KFC's that have been built there. It raises the serious question of how someone is supposed to feed one's family a healthy diet in that environment. It's a big problem.

Re: The article in Time Magazine about Obesity raised my blood pressure!

Carole C in NOLA on 6/04/04 at 19:18 (152049)

I think you should write a letter to them! Your post above is persuasive, articulate, and poignant. If they published your letter, it would be wonderful. And even if they didn't, it would give you a chance to vent even more.

You are SO RIGHT in what you said. It's difficult to impossible to exercise with severe PF, and yet, not exercising is emotionally devastating and heartbreaking. I think that some people with severe PF slow down their recovery a great deal because they feel driven to exercise more than their feet can bear, and end up re-injuring them and becoming even more disabled.

Carole C

Re: The article in Time Magazine about Obesity raised my blood pressure!

Ed Davis, DPM on 6/05/04 at 10:04 (152084)


It is not an article you should personalize. It talks about a national problem, generalizing.

Americans, in general, have devloped habits which are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle and that is really what the issue is about, not individual situations. We rely too much on fast food and automobiles.

The Northwest US is a nice place to live geographically but, like much of the West coast, people drive EVERYWHERE. Our roads are clogged since thousands are out there driving when they could have walked a few blocks. Many communities out here have been built without sidewalks! I had rented a car while mine was in the shop a while back and the lady at the rental counter insisted on driving me back to my office. When I told her that I would walk she insisted that she could not let me do that. I told her that I sure as heck was going to do it anyway watching a look of surprise on her face.

I have staff that has moved here from the East coast and they drive across the street to go to lunch - less than a block - it does not take them long to pick up the local habits.

So we have informercials, health clubs, fad diets, gadgets --- you name it... to try to get back in shape. I spent little time in Europe but just did not see this type of lifestyle there and most people I encountered were not overweight.

There are numerous personal reasons for weight gain but that was not what you were reading about. On a personal basis, consider contacting a personal trainor who could design a program that works with the constraints you have listed, eg. Pilates... I am not an expert on that but I am confident that you can find something that works for your personal needs.

Re: The article in Time Magazine about Obesity raised my blood pressure!

wendyn on 6/07/04 at 20:38 (152300)

I have to agree with you Ed - much of our problem is a fundamental lifestyle issue. Kathy, I can understand why the article upset you, but try not to take it personally.

I think that there are very, very few people who absolutely cannot exercise in any way due to physical ailments. I would suspect that most people who are that ill (I'm thinking cancer, MS) are not the very overweight that this article is referring to.

Even if you take the exercise factor out completely, we still have some real fundamental issues with our diet. I simply cannot believe the portion sizes at fast food restaurants; I can't even finish a small order root beer let alone a big one (my son and I split a small). Our society has completely inaccurate ideas about portions size, and about how much food we really need.

We also have problems with what consitutes healthy eating. We load our kids up with hot dogs, chips, beef dips, waffles, soda pop, and pasta - and then wonder why it's tough for them to make good choices.

The weight problem really is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed right from a cultural standpoint.

For those of us with physical problems, arthritis and PF - exercise becomes even more important than it is for people who are really healthy. I hope that you find something that you can do, and that you can enjoy doing.