Eliminating “Diet” in America

May 10, 2013

Over one-third of the Americans are obese today.  Because the obesity rate is not slowing, Americans are turning to diet pills and diet facilities to help them lose weight.   An expert said the best way to lose weight is to do it naturally.

Rachel Leya Bello is a certified Holistic Nurse.  She knows the best way to lose weight because she’s done it herself.  Ms. Bello said she used to be obese herself and would feel tired all the time.  It wasn’t until she was shopping at Macy’s and saw someone else trying on clothes and looking good did she realize that she needed to lose weight.

Instead of resorting to diet pills and going to dieting facilities, Ms. Bello knew she had to change her lifestyle and lose her excess weight naturally.  Her secret to losing weight successfully was meditating every day, eating healthier, and exercising more.  Mostly everyone knows about eating healthier and exercising more but not many know the connection between meditating and losing weight.

Ms. Bello explained that meditation is an important step in losing weight because when people meditate and learn to appreciate more, they will feel more satisfied with their lives, which helps reduce the cravings for sweets and fat foods.

In addition to meditating every morning, Ms. Bello would spend seven to ten minutes exercising vigorously and she started eating healthier.  Her success is an example that Americans can lose weight the natural way.

Many Americans rely on diet pills and facilities.  Obesity medication manufacturing is an over 500-million-dollar industry with an annual growth rate of almost seven percent from 2013 to 2018.

However, Ms. Bello explained that diet pills are only useful when the person is taking them.  Most of the pills work by causing discomfort in the bowels, which causes a person to defecate more often (or cause more bowel movement).  As a result, the person’s weight decreases.  If the person doesn’t change his lifestyle by eating healthier and exercising more while taking the pills, once the person stops taking them, his weight will increase again.

2.6 trillion dollars was spent on healthcare in 2010 alone.  This is more than ten times the amount spent, just thirty years ago in 1980.  Ms. Bello pointed out that Americans used to spend more on food and less on healthcare, but it’s the reverse right now.  Americans are spending more money on healthcare and that should not be the case.

While Americans are spending their money on healthcare, they are frugal when it comes to spending money on food.  Many say they cannot afford to eat healthy food but Ms. Bello says it is all just an excuse.  Instead of eating fast food and paying hospital bills, why not use the money that will be spent paying for hospital fees on buying healthy food?  Ms. Bello’s idea is that if a person is spending money buying healthy food, it pays off in the long run.  The person will be healthier, which means he will not need to pay as much on doctor’s visits, he will not need to take as many sick days.  More importantly, he will be educating his children on living healthier lifestyles.

Forbes calculated the national healthcare expenditure was 3 trillion dollars in 2012.  Part of the increase in healthcare spending is due to the increase in healthcare costs.  However, Ms. Bello is also concerned that Americans are not eating proper types of food.

In the past, the rich people were the ones who ate the organs and intestines because they know those were the parts where all the nutrients are.  Only the poor ate the steak.  Today, Americans are grossed out by the food that is actually most valuable to us in terms of the amount of nutrients it contains.

Hawaiian Gardens is the smallest city in Los Angeles County, with a land size of less than one square mile, but it holds the highest child obesity rate.  It doesn’t come as a surprise that obesity is a problem because fast food restaurants can be seen right off of the freeway exit.

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Despite fast food giant, McDonald’s, efforts to help with obesity in America by putting calorie counts on all of their menus, Robert Girandola, Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Southern California, is doubtful that it will help.

Girandola said, “In my observation is that you can put calorie counts on everything, people don’t pay attention to it…People don’t go to McDonald’s to eat a salad. They go to McDonald’s to eat French fries and a hamburger…”

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Hawaiian Elementary School principal, Laurie Cordova, said when a community’s socio-economic status is on the lower side, there will be more fast food restaurants around.

The median household income in Hawaiian Gardens is 46,000 dollars, which is significantly less than the state’s median household income of almost 59,000 dollars.

Ms. Bello expressed her concerns for keeping healthy lifestyles in these communities, especially when parents do not have as much time to bring their children out of the house and to exercise.  Furthermore, parents are tired from working long hours, so most of them buy fast food, order pizza or make quick home cooked meals like pasta for dinner.  All of these can lead to child obesity.

Hawaiian Gardens mayor, Mike Gomez, said the life expectancy of the children is shorter than the life expectancy of their parents because of their unhealthy and “sedentary” lifestyles.

Mr. Gomez said, “Children of today are much more sedentary, in their homes, using their thumbs navigating the games instead of out running around in the yard. When I grew up, it was a different era.  All the kids in the block, we would leave the house, head off to the park and hang out there all day…”

In an effort to promote healthier lifestyles and to combat the problem of obesity, Hawaiian Gardens is offering free recreational programs for the residents.  Some of these classes include karate, line dancing and zumba.  The goal of the recreational programs is to encourage the residents to participate in them, which is why they are free.

The city is also working tightly with the Tri-City Regional Medical Center and the ABC Unified School District on the Activate Hawaiian Gardens project.  Activate Hawaiian Gardens recognizes the severity of child obesity in the city and acknowledges the need to start educating children as early as possible.

The program targets students at a young age and will follow them up to sixth grade to monitor their improvements.  Since this is only the first year of Activate Hawaiian Garden’s launch, there are no results yet.  However, Mayor Gomez said it is a very big step for the community and that he is already making changes to his own lifestyle.

Activate Hawaiian Gardens collaborates with UCLA where medical students will educate selected parents and teachers of the Hawaiian Gardens community on healthier lifestyles.  The goal is for the parents to understand the urgency to make changes and how to make changes.

Twenty students are selected from each of the four participating elementary schools.  The first part was geared toward parents, educating them on healthy diets.

Even though there are no results because the program just launched this year, it is evident that Hawaiian Gardens is set on a path toward lower obesity rate in the city.  Mayor Gomez said this is one of the city’s top priorities.

Ms. Bello said, “I would like to see an America where the word ‘diet’ is eliminated.”

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