This week experts convene in Atlanta Georgia for Obesity Week 2013. I’m out of conference time for the year, but am following the conversation via social media.

Obesity is so complex. If it were not, we’d have simple solutions. There are no simple solutions as every individual eats differently, is physiologically and emotionally different, and includes variable amounts of physical activity in their lives.

Obesity is quite misunderstood. It’s not just about “willpower” and physical appearances are not only important, but health is important. There is no question that what you eat does have an impact on your health. So does physical activity.

There is a lot of public opinion about what to do about the obesity issue. Is it our food supply? Is it our lack of activity? We’ve certainly become more sedentary in general. We are a nation of “sitters” due to the technology that is at our fingertips. There is a lot of discussion about how the food supply impacts what we eat – how much junk food is available, food desserts, etc. Some believe that it’s up to the government to provide policy to regulate choices or tax “unhealthy” foods.

I say it’s up to you to make a change. Recognize that your environment and your habits are causing you to gain weight, and then take some simple steps and keep practicing them until they become your new routine.

  • Do you know what your BMI is? Find out. Being obese does impact your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, and therefore heart disease.
  • Add movement daily. I just added a treadmill desk to my treadmill. I spend 1-2 hours each morning reviewing and responding to email, so this allows me to get a routine 1-2 hour walk in (at a very slow pace – just moving instead of sitting) each day. Find ways to do this. Park the car down the road and walk; take the stairs instead of the elevator; add a few more movements to your day (sweep the walk, take more trips back and forth to car with groceries). Just get out of the chair.
  • Consider your changing life. Whether it’s college, menopause, or just aging in general,  – these changes in life do impact your eating and exercise habits. Be aware, and adjust accordingly.
  • Finally, if you have children, set a good example. Expose them to a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, and fresh foods. Prevention is truly the answer.