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Stopping Globesity
from Dave Slagle, General Manager, Paradise Fitness Centers

I am on a mission. I need every person on the beautiful island of Guam to help me! We can stop a worldwide epidemic from consuming our local population. The antidote is regular physical exercise. The term "GLOBESITY" has been used to describe an epidemic that is spreading across the globe. Unlike most other epidemics, an infectious agent does NOT cause globesity. Global Obesity is spreading at an alarming rate. From the United States and the western world to third world countries known for malnutrition, obesity is becoming more of a health problem than famine. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has reported that the global "fat epidemic" is no longer limited to wealthy nations. Many poorer nations now face the double threat of some of their population being malnourished and others seriously overfat. Recent studies by the World Health Organization have found that an estimated 18 percent of the global population is clinically obese. That is an increase of over 50% within the last seven years. These studies show that people who live in non-industrialized or poor countries are not immune from obesity. In 1995 there were an estimated 200 million obese adults worldwide. By the year 2000, the number of obese adults had grown to more than 300 million. In developing countries it has been estimated that 115 million people suffer from obesity related problems. As a result in the increase in obesity, the World Health Organization has established an International Obesity Task Force. This task force will study the impact that globalization and economic development have on promoting an environment of foods with low nutrient density and high calories as well as a sedentary lifestyle.

So far they have found that the remote rural economies of indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable to the changes in lifestyle and diet that come with economic development. Pacific Islanders are the foremost example of the increase in obesity that comes with a westernized lifestyle. The International Obesity Task Force claims that Pacific Islanders are the most obese populations on earth! The rise of obesity brings an increase in diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other health problems. The World Health Organization has stated that they cannot explain the rise in obesity except that it is associated with a westernized sedentary lifestyle. "We are looking at an epidemic that we associate with the adoption of the industrialized way of life. Our diets have changed and our physical activity has declined rapidly. Restoring physical activities to our daily lives is critical."

When I read statements like this I am alarmed by the situation. My industry, the fitness industry, has been preaching the message of improving health through regular physical exercise for over a century. It is no longer just up to the individual. We need to encourage and support others in their quest for better health and fitness. We need to have a better system for our youth to be educated about the benefits of exercise. People need to understand that being physically fit means better health. Insurance companies should provide the lowest rates for physically fit individuals. They REALLY should provide reimbursement for fitness center membership fees. Now more than ever the residents of Guam need to make time for physical fitness in their lives. Those of you who already exercise regularly MUST encourage your friends to join you! Guam has already seen an increase in diabetes and kidney related disease within the last decade. Most people don't realize that a physical exercise regimen could prevent those diseases. The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that a low-fat diet, combined with a regular exercise program, can PREVENT diabetes and may be more effective in treating diabetes than the prescription drug, METFORMIN. The evidence keeps building, but no one seems to listen. Please help me to spread the message; Regular physical exercise (especially resistance training with weights) will improve your health. It will prevent obesity. It may also prolong your life.


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