For many years, I have looked up to my parents as role models. I admire their love for one another, their sense of humor and their desire to live a healthy lifestyle. In less than one months’ time, I will be marrying the love of my life and hope I will be enjoying life as my parents have.
Growing up the oldest of three boys, we always had dinners together, took walks around the block and played team sports. Eating healthy, diet and exercise were taken for granted, but I was young and did not understand the importance of it. At age 16, when I earned my independence in the form of a car, I met two friends, the Big Mac and Fries. Years of sheltering never tasted so good. Soon after, and for a portion of my life, I had chosen to eat the cheesesteak over the salad or the fried chicken over the grilled.
While genetics and diet play a role, high cholesterol runs in my family, both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. According to statistics, I have roughly a 50 percent chance of having it myself through genetics alone but with healthy choices and exercise, I hope to win this battle without the help of Pfizer. For as far back as I can remember I hear my father’s voice saying, “Scottie, you have got to start eating better. Now is the time. You are not getting any younger.”
However, it was not until I began working in the health care industry that it all made sense to me.
As a health care broker, I began to get my life in order. I am proud to say, eight years later, I live a much healthier lifestyle than I ever have before. I routinely work out and eat appropriately. My cholesterol levels and blood pressure are normal.
The health care world has taught me many things. One of which is that obesity starts at a young age. However, between both parents working, timing and the fast-paced world in which we live, childhood obesity is at an all-time high in our country. Currently, nearly one out of five of children and adolescents are considered to be obese, all of which have close to an 80 percent chance of continuing obesity into adulthood. In addition to unhealthy genes, these people may not have the resources to manage their health properly and choose the “fast food” lifestyle over the healthier one. Now is the time for parents to teach their children the importance of a healthy lifestyle. If this does not occur, we will continue to become a nation dependent on fatty foods and prescription drugs that only mask the underlying effects of a poor diet and inadequate exercise.
Eating a proper diet along with exercise has led me to where I am today. I am extremely blessed and looking forward to following my parents’ footsteps in all aspects of their lives. I could not be any more excited for what my future holds.