By John Canterbury, M.D.

Food Can Heal or Harm – The Choice is YoursAs astonishing as it is, the fact is, nearly 30% of Americans are considered obese. Even more disheartening is that obesity is not only a concern for adults, more and more children are being labeled as overweight or obese. The fast pace of today’s society, busy work schedules, financial concerns, stress and anxiety, combined with the ease and price of obtaining processed or fast foods, all lead to America’s population becoming heavier and unhealthier. Planning ahead, preparing meals, and making good food choices takes time, knowledge and a desire to live a longer, stronger, healthy life.

Making the best food choices for you and your family is complicated, especially when you consider the amount of conflicting data and opinions available regarding nutrition. The opposing positions about what is good for the body and what isn’t make it even more difficult for us to know what is true and what is false, what we should eat and what we shouldn’t. It seems that new reports and studies arise daily that debunk a previous study done on a food that was supposed to be a healthy choice. It’s nearly impossible for anyone, especially busy parents, to keep up with the latest news on nutrition, and as a result, we often take the easy route and rely on easy to prepare, but unhealthy meal choices or the ever popular, fast food restaurant that we pass on our way home for the evening.

It’s up to each and every one of us to look after our health as a society. There is no denying that if you’re healthy, you have more energy to spend time with family and friends. Providing your body with proper nutrients can increase your energy level, allowing you to pursue your interests, take a class, go skydiving, camping, hiking or join a sports team. Not to mention, by making good food choices, you will be setting a better example for your children, other family members and friends, and the time spent learning about health and exercising, is paid back tenfold over the long term as you live longer and are able to spend more time with your loved ones.

Health Issues Related to Poor Nutrition
As we age, maintaining a healthy weight becomes more and more of a greater concern for our overall health. Unfortunately child obesity rates are soaring, and an unhealthy child usually leads to an unhealthy adult. There are a myriad of health problems that you can fall prey to if you’re overweight. Some of the most common health issues related to being overweight include (but is certainly not limited to):

• High blood pressure
• Heart attack risk increases
• Stroke risk increases
• Arthritis – because your joints are forced to carry more weight than they should
• Gallbladder disease
• Breathing problems
• Sleep apnea
• Low self esteem and low energy levels
• Certain types of cancers, such as breast or
colon cancer

What can YOU do?
Many of the health risks listed above can be debilitating and can put your life at serious risk. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prevent the life threatening conditions caused by poor eating choices and being overweight.

John Canterbury MD
South Florida Internal Medicine
680 Second Avenue North, Suite 203
Naples, FL  34102