I am watching the first show of season 16 of The Biggest Loser and I am fighting back tears. This season all the contestants are ex- professional or Olympic or collegiate athletes dealing with obesity. They are angry with themselves. They are disappointed. They are embarrassed and ashamed. They are all of that and now on national television half naked standing on a scale. If that isn’t vulnerability then I don’t know what is. If that isn’t courage then what is? If they aren’t a true fighter then who is?
This season makes it apparent that no one is immune to obesity and that it is a disease that can reach anyone. If you aren’t aware of the struggle that someone lives with when they are obese then please educate yourself. This disease and or addition is real. Obesity is one of the few illnesses that people wear on their sleeves. They can’t hide it. They can’t fake it. They can’t lie to someone about it. It shows and there is no escaping it. You can know someone diagnosed with cancer right now and never be aware. Your co-worker can be a drug addict and you will never know. You can even be standing in an elevator with a child predator and smile right at them with no idea what they have done or plan on doing. These people can walk amongst the world in hiding but someone with obesity cannot.
Right now more than one-third, 34.9% or 78.6 million of U.S. adults are obese. One in 10 children become obese from ages 2 to 5, and about 5% of 6 to 11 year olds are obese. Please understand that this is real. This is a disease that deserves attention and compassion. Children don’t grow out of it. Adults don’t get better on their own. We need to be a supportive friend to those battling it. We need to be better parents to educate our children to prevent it. We need to be an empathetic community to those around us that walk with it.
What is obesity?