As we ring in a new year – and a new decade, too – so many resolutions are
If a family as a whole becomes dedicated to improved
overall health, orthopedic health will easily follow.
(Photo courtesy of www.freediets.com)
likely to be made that will never come to fruition. Many of these “promises” are made with such unreasonably difficult goals, that failure often occurs before the attempt is even made.
From a family perspective, make 2010 a year of the “orthopedically healthy family.” By this I mean dedicate the New Year to improving the health of bones, joints and muscles of every member of the family.
Sounds odd, doesn’t it? I mean, hey, if you have young children, why should you, or they, be concerned with orthopedic health?
“My kids are active and healthy.”
“So what if they’re a little pudgy? They’ll grow out of it, right?”
Not so fast.
In today’s drive-through fast-food, Nintendo-Wii-X-Box-and-Play Station-crazy culture, our kids spend far more time physically idle than at any time in history.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Ohio alone, over the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity to a level over 28 percent of the population.
Information gleaned from NHANES (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) conducted between 1976 and 1980 and again between 2003 and 2006, childhood obesity in ages 6-11 rose from 5 percent to 12.4 percent and in ages 12-19 from 5 to 17.6 percent.
It’s not just about the kids either.
Is it anticipated by the CDC and other researchers that by the year 2025, approximately one third of our population will be obese. What does this mean? Well, for starters it means that obesity can cut years off your life span. Children who are obese at young ages are at extremely high risk of developing type II diabetes in adulthood.
I could discuss hypertension, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, vascular problems and premature death risks, but let’s look at the positive side of things.
If a family as a whole becomes dedicated to improved overall health, orthopedic health will easily follow. Results are easier to attain if there is a solid support group in place, and a family-oriented plan can be very successful.
Consider this, for every pound of weight gained, there is a corresponding four pound in direct pressure upon the weight-bearing joints (AAOS). Fortunately, the same is also true for weight lost. Think of what that means to “older” knees and hips, as well as what it could mean to the younger ones.
The first thing to do is get to the family doctor and make sure everyone in the family who will be participating in vigorous activity is medically cleared to do so. Next, develop an exercise plan that is do-able. People who are more than just a little overweight and those with morbid obesity already often look at weight reduction as an insurmountable task, mainly because they try to envision the end even before beginning. People with severe obesity or with associated medical issues will more than likely need expert assistance, but generally speaking, create a plan that is appropriate to all ages in the family.
Start a contest and track weight loss, miles walked, hours committed, etc. and set up some kind of reward structure –not treats like candy or soda.
Rest assured, the short- and long-term benefits of improving the bones, joints and muscles of every family member, regardless of age will be more than worth the trials and tribulations you may encounter along the way.
Stay the course – your children will love you more for it and you’ll probably be around to enjoy their children as well.
Chisholm’s expertise in nursing, orthopedics and surgery spans more than 30 years. He holds multiple national certifications in these specialties. His goal is to empowering people through education and information to become more engaged, proactive and responsible in their orthopedic health, and health care. For additional information on orthopedic-related topics, visit Ken’s Web site at www.bone-and-joint-pain.com. Submit questions or comments to Ken at
or at his Web site.