Food – Obesity, A Growing Epidemic

Problems ensue when temperance, one of the eight laws of heath, is not followed in every area of our life. One of the more obvious ways in which intemperance is displayed is obesity. The statistics related to obesity in the United States of America are shocking. There are 58 million people overweight, 40 million obese, and three million morbidly obese. Eight out of every ten Americans over 25 years of age are overweight. Metropolitan weight tables show the “ideal” weight for longevity. A Google search will find the BMI, body mass index. Weighing in excess of your ideal weight with a BMI greater than 25 can be an indication of future health problems and decreased longevity. Contributing factors to obesity may include medical problems, such as a low thyroid level, what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat, how we burn calories, and our heredity. Of these, only our heredity is something over which we have no influence.

Eighty percent of Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity, as is 70 percent of cardiovascular disease. Forty-two percent of diagnosed breast and colon cancer are among obese individuals; 30 percent of all gallbladder surgery is related to obesity, and 26 percent of obese people have high blood pressure.

Our children are not immune to this growing epidemic. According to pediatric endocrinologist, David S. Ludwig, early childhood obesity may produce changes in metabolism, hormones, or the brain that oppose weight loss. Adolescents who are obese have seven times the risk of being morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40) than adults. Obese teens are increasingly steered toward riskier measures to prevent future health problems, including various weight loss surgeries. The severely obese are now rising faster in the United States population than those who are moderately obese. It is therefore critical that childhood weight problems are addressed before poor lifestyle habits are deeply ingrained.

These health issues have an untold effect on the lives of the individuals, families, and society. This problem needs to be addressed not only as a health problem but as a spiritual problem, because we are told whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do, we are to glorify God (I Corinthians 10:31). The Bible has very specific counsel regarding moderation and diet. “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:5. “Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Proverbs 23:2.

Please know that this problem goes much deeper than the social stigma associated with appearance and poor health. It is related to many problems in our world. “And yet with scarcely a thought or care, men and women of the present generation indulge intemperance by surfeiting and drunkenness and thereby leave, as a legacy for the next generation, disease, enfeebled intellects, and polluted morals.” The Adventist Home, 173.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1.