Give people the tools to fight obesity
Share with others:
Last Monday there was an article in the Post-Gazette about the preponderance of overweight and obese individuals in this country ("Overweight: What's the Problem?" July 16 Health). The article talked about the ineffectiveness of dieting, the American obsession with body type and the "new" perspectives that might bring about a lasting change.
I agreed with some of the arguments and disagreed with others, but like most of the people in the article, I think I know where the real problem lies. Everybody seems to agree that it is healthy to exercise and that exercising regularly is essential to prevent many health problems. I couldn't agree more.
However, facilities conducive to this, as well as the time to do this, are few and far between. As far as I can tell, access to free exercise facilities is severely lacking in Pittsburgh, especially for younger children (the group we worry about the most when it comes to obesity), who do not have transportation to get to various parks, gyms and playgrounds.
I have lived in the East End for 26 years, and in that time I have seen basketball courts removed from playgrounds, open fields fenced in and locked up, and tennis courts removed in favor of parking lots. I have to drive to Schenley Park, Carnegie Mellon University or Woodland Hills to use a track and find some space to exercise without being scolded for "trespassing," and I can do this only because I have a car.
This is not the ideal scenario if you want people to exercise. Why aren't there efforts to improve the facilities we have and build new ones more accessible to the younger generation? We say we want people to exercise, but we don't give them the tools they need to do so. This needs to change if we want to address the obesity problem.
The writer is a graduate student in education at Duquesne University and a personal trainer.
First Published July 23, 2012 12:00 am