The wake-up call

85For a few days at the beginning of January, a wide swathe of the population wakes up to an uncomfortable truth: ‘I am less than I want to be’. Resolutions for change are commonplace if short lived. Actually, for a great many people, the truth could be more accurately declared, ‘I am more than I want to be – I need to lose weight!’. These feelings soon diminish. We only tend to bear them for a week or two in acknowledgment of the Christmas excess. Then we get on with life much as ever.

Public Health England just launched a campaign aimed at my age group in case the annual wake-up call fails to elicit sufficient change. The message is broadcast loud and clear: 83% of those aged 40 to 60 are overweight, drink too much or exercise too little. Two-thirds of deaths before the age of 75 are avoidable. Lifestyle improvements can make a real difference.

My question to myself was obvious – am I one of the regular 83% or the elite 17%? A handy online quiz was offered to help determine the uncomfortable truth…

Studies have shown that many people who are overweight genuinely do not realise it. There could be a number of psychological explanations for certain individuals, but the broader context in which we perceive our own weight is in relation to the size of others. If two-thirds of us bulge around the middle, then this is normal; the current average. Why would we count ourselves as over-anything if we are the same as most others?

Herein lies the familiar weakness of approaching people as individuals. We are all likely to settle for the norm. Eating, drinking, moving. Few us are remarkable. Some of us adopt healthier patterns through personal willpower or amongst other like-minded enthusiasts. It could be many more if there was sufficient motivation for collective action. But who can provide this motivation for whole communities?

Government finds this difficult, as does the medical profession. Leadership is key. If we want to pursue good health for ourselves, then we are far more likely to be successful if we are accompanied by others.

Leadership should therefore emerge from amongst us. Now that sounds like a real wake-up call.

2 thoughts on “The wake-up call

  1. Dear brother Paul Holley,Thank you so much for your sharing regarding “The wake-up call” in relation to Health issues: It’s a very good article dear and ideally you are right tostate that, two thirds of deaths before the age of 75 are avoidable.Surely life style improvement can make a big difference inlife for the better once it’s given a priority. Life is all about how we manage it and handle it.When it comes to Africa, there is still a big challenge whenit comes to lifestyle of people and no wonder many of the preventable diseaseshave caused a lot of havoc in Africa sometimes attributed to lifestyle ofpeople far more as compared to western world and europe.People do not want to exercise for example and some don’tattach seriousness to it at all and yet also the way we feed is not good assome don’t feed on balance diet due to poverty, ignorance, to mention but afew.But in our communities we are doing sensitization to showpeople the importance of exercise and we lead by examples for am good atexercising. At least playing football with the youth after work in the eveningsand that helps me a great deal to keep me in shape!Exercising is something that shapes our mental well being aswell and with a discipline of exercising every day, it makes life sweet and thebody says thank you for taking great care of me!Once again thanks for your article brother Paul. We keep intouch.God blessAlbert/Uganda/Africa

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  2. I joined a cross-fit studio for 10 sessions. The whole healty life style seems to be ingrained in the setup and apperance of the studio. I think a lot of people whould benefit from a regular sports routine and I also think that this is best done within a group/peers.

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