Archive for tag: obesity

Education is Not Always the Answer to Obesity

Hey National, 

Check this out: Lack of education is not the reason people are overweight! GAAASSPPP! What did I say? What? Controversy!

If you haven't noticed, the amount of overweight people in the United States has dramatically increased in the last two decades. Hmm. Why? Is it because they haven't gotten on the bandwagon of the paleo diet because they're still scared of the high fat and cholesterol consumption? Do they just have bad information about diets? Or is it something more? 

Most people assume people just need to be more "educated" to become healthy or lose fat or build muscle--a belief that's so deeply held, it's become an invisible script in society. "Ah, if we just educate these fat people and show them a calorie chart, they'll wake up from their uncontrolled and overzealous binging and realize the critical importance of eating less!"

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

As Clotaire Rapaille wrote in his terrific book, The Culture Code: "Years ago, Tufts University invited me to lecture during a symposium on obesity… Lecturer after lecturer offered solutions for America's obesity problem, all of which revolved around education. Americans would be thinner if only they knew about good nutrition and the benefits of exercise, they told us. Slimming down the entire country was possible through an aggressive public awareness campaign…

"When it was my turn to speak, I couldn't help beginning with an observation. 'I think it is fascinating that the other speakers today have suggested that education is the answer to our country's obesity problem,' I said. I slowly gestured around the room. 'If education is the answer, then why hasn't it helped more of you?'

"There were audible gasps in the auditorium when I said this, quite a few snickers, and five times as many sneers. Unsurprisingly, Tufts never invited me to lecture again."

We already "know" we need to exercise more, eat healthier, control our sugar intake, and maintain our hydration. So why don't we?

That matrix--the difference between what we KNOW and what we actually DO--is where I think the true questions of change need to be asked and answered. 

Short answer: When it comes to changing human behavior and getting results, implementation trumps information.

Stay tuned for next week's blog as we explore topics I've coined: Age of Implementation and Habitual Evolution and how they can help us change our health care problems in the country.

I propose a goal for myself: By the time I graduate to interview extremely healthy and successful people and study what habits they implemented into their lives to 'build in' health without even thinking about it.