Physical fitness is no longer a requirement for survival. Not for people anyway, who tend to live in industrialized societies. It does, however, remain the case today for the majority of earth’s wild species.
As a consequence of our intelligence and resulting technologies, long-term physical fitness in urbanized environments now requires a deliberate act of reason; the adoption of a plan and a commitment to its success.
It is imperative that as a nation we rise to this task; and in a spirit of dignity and respect for all, shoulder this challenge as Americans of past generations have shouldered theirs.
The U.S Center for Disease Control estimates that 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. The resulting medical expenses are overwhelming, costing U.S. companies an estimated $12 billion a year in health insurance, disability and sick leave costs. Worst of all, obesity rates show no sign of decline. Simply because we eat too much and exercise too little, we are risking the collapse of our entire health care system.
With a new sense of purpose, the United States must answer the epidemic of obesity and diabetes with a clear and coordinated demonstration of how a nation can choose to do what is right, once it summons the courage to reject what is easy. To say we have neither the time or resources to care for our health is unsupported by the facts. And to pretend that laziness is something other than itself, is a luxury this nation can no longer afford.
While guarding against imposing harsh judgement upon others, we must acknowledge the necessity, and accept the responsibility of judging ourselves and our personal exercise and nutrition behaviors.
Our generation stands at a crossroad, beyond which lies the future of our nation’s health care system. Even though a nation of healthy, active Americans seems impossible to imagine right now, it is equally impossible to justify a continuation of our current path.
Right now, we have the chance to achieve one of the greatest victories in our nation’s storied history. The opportunity is banging loudly on America’s front door right now. We have no choice but to answer. We have no excuse not to win. Will we rise together to fight the battle before us, or stay seated on our couches in hopes that tomorrow knows heroes greater than we.
Either way, just a brief span of time stands between how we live today and a full accounting of our personal willingness to set examples for our children through healthier lives.
To deny our individual importance in the outcome of this legacy is to lie to ourselves. It is to cower in the face of what we know to be true, that with rare exception, physical fitness is a function of will.