WIN Wyoming

Thought Bullets
July 2005

The Weight Gain Train
Too many accelerators, not enough brakes

Do you have any hot buttons?  You know, the kind of thing that can instantly put you in the alert mode with your back stiffened, your muscles tightened and your tongue ready to lash out with a different perspective that doesn’t seem to be getting any attention.  Lately one of my hot buttons is the endless call for “personal responsibility” for achieving a healthy weight.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a firm believer in personal responsibility and believe we have far too little of the commodity in today’s modern world.  What I would like to see is a teaming of the call for “personal responsibility” with a concentrated effort to change environmental factors that encourage over consumption of energy dense food and discourage regular daily physical activity.  Two authors from Australia (Boyd Swinburn and Garry Egger) recently wrote an article for the British Medical Journal that I found to be a refreshing perspective on the alarming global obesity rate. 

I took a class on problem solving a couple decades ago and the presenter spent about three-fourths of the class time on step one of his approach: Define the problem.  He suggested that many problems resurface over and over again because we fail to clearly define the problem.  For example, in one office setting, two co-workers were repeatedly in conflict resolution efforts.  Until the core problem was clearly defined (lack of respect for each other), all attempts to resolve the problem were unsuccessful.  What I really liked about this article was the authors’ ability (at least from my perspective) to more clearly define the world obesity trends.  Perhaps with the obesity issue more clearly defined, we can now move to step two of problem solving (review all possible alternatives).

Source:  Swinburn B, Egger G. The runaway weight gain train: too many accelerators, not enough brakes. British Medical Journal.  2004;329:736-739.

Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD

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