I been thinking a lot these days about both disease and health. From a societal standpoint, it is clear that disease is winning over health among many Americans, adult and child alike. Though it’s hard to believe, statistics show that:
⅓ of children born after 2000 will have diabetes mellitus type II. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20030616/one-in-three-kids-will-develop-diabetes#1
In the United States, chronic diseases and conditions and the health risk behaviors that cause them account for most health care costs. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
More than ⅓ of U.S. adults have obesity. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
The percentage of children with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about 1 in 3 American children and teens is overweight or obese and about 1 in 5 school aged children ages 6-19 has obesity. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp#.WfdIQIXGe0w
There are many forces working against us. Many of us are not taught well from a young age how to nourish our bodies. When we do set out to take steps toward health, the confusing and often conflicting information about dieting (I hate that word), what to eat and what not to eat, can leave us overwhelmed, discouraged and at times, paralyzed. Then there’s the temptation to eat the processed foods and meats that line the shelves of our grocery stores, are convenient to eat, quick to cook, yet literally make us sick. Many of these foods are scientifically designed to stimulate cravings and lead to addiction. Some days, the challenge of helping our children to make better food and drink choices when they just don’t want to, feels impossible. Add to all of that the deadly impact of stress and anxiety on so many lives, and discouragement can easily set in along with the temptation to throw in the towel.
I am CHOOSING not to be discouraged because of these things that I believe to be true:
I believe that knowledge is power. Knowledge about health. Knowledge about food. Knowledge about the incredible brains and minds that we have. And, most importantly, knowledge about Christ, our source of life and of true change.
“My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
I believe that, though large scale transformation in the collective health and wellness of our communities will not happen overnight, it can happen one person at a time and one decision at a time. As we learn about how to nourish not just our bodies but our spirits, souls and bodies (receive) and apply what we have learned to our lives (respond), we will move in the direction of wellness and wholeness, one step at a time. As we do, fruit will be produced in our lives that will overflow to others as we more effectively use the gifts and talents that God has given us. I love to think of this as the ripple effect. I picture not just one ripple spreading out over the water, but many ripples, spreading and converging and becoming large and powerful waves that have the potential to make a great impact.
Where do we begin?
Right where we are, we make a decision to take a step. It will be a different step for each of us, depending on what we choose to receive and how we respond. But that step will lead to another and another. Receive, respond, ripple, repeat.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
What’s your next step?