Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just an observation

We have spent a great 10 days touring Bavaria and have made a few interesting observations. Although beer is served here like water and the food is hearty, you see very few overweight locals. And I haven't noticed any giant, open-24-hour gyms with flashy billboards, either. Is it the limitless options for physical activity? The ability to walk or bike wherever you want on well-maintained paths? Where have we gone "wrong" in the States? We have limitless fitness options but continue to be an overweight nation.

This is something I have pondered before but never has it been so obvious to me as during the last couple weeks. In our country, which thrives on the automobile and get-thin-quick schemes, how do you convince a population that the best way to better health is eating less and moving more? Back home, I am frequently asked by patients to prescribe weight-loss medications, something I nearly always refuse to do. My suggestions to find a local park and walk 30 minutes a day or climb the stairs at work insead of using the elevators are inevitably met with anger and frustration.

A healthy weight is not always easy to obtain but the Germans seem to be onto something with their enthusiasm for the outdoors and activity. After too many hours spent sitting behind a desk in Afghanistan, I am thoroughly enjoying myself!

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