Better choices will defeat enemy of obesity

Today, I hope that you will take a couple of minutes and read the simple message that I offer to you on this page.

America is in a state of crisis, not only from without, but from within.

The enemy is all around us. In fact, it may be you. Sometimes, it's me.

I don't know when the enemy really infiltrated America, but I think is was sometime after World War II, when the enemy decided children should have the opportunity to ride to and from school every day and the American public quit walking.

The enemy rallied behind the Golden Arches and hid in the miracle of frozen dinners that were devoured by a population watching Ed Sullivan and Jack Benny and we quit moving.

The enemy couldn't wait to stock the shelves of our stores with chips, candy, sodas and recliners and we lost our strength and self-esteem. Today, our children are born with a joy stick in their hand and a Nintendo in every room. It scares me to death.

We are a nation on the edge of disaster; a nation that is destroying itself from within.

What's happening to our society didn't start with a new millennium, but from a culmination of years of abuse and neglect.

The latest statistics show our nation is more than 60 percent obese. That means the incidence of coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, some forms of cancer, and other debilitating diseases are on the rise. Who will pay for these diseases? Your insurance company? Guess again.

Americans, Oregonians, and citizens of Sandy, can turn this around right here, right now. It will take a concerted community effort. It will take community pride. And it will take character and heart.

We need to start with our children and make sure they have an hour of physical education or planned activity every day, regardless of the cost.

There must be encouragement to participate in interscholastic or intramural sports beginning in the elementary schools and a continuation of that promotion of sport through high school.

There must be programs available to adults in the community that involve the opportunity for education and participation in functional activities.

We need the encouragement of the medical community to help our citizens by promoting and encouraging preventive medicine for all.

I believe that Sandy can become a Mecca of good health and home to a population that is concerned with their health and well-being.

This whole process starts with the realization that we all can make good choices in our lives, and if we make good choices concerning good nutrition and exercise we will all be the beneficiaries.

I would ask that as you read this article, that you come up with things that you, your family, your friends and your community can do to make Sandy a healthier place to live.

You can set goals for weight loss, quit smoking or start an exercise program. Begin thinking of all the possibilities that can happen within the community that will promote positive change in our lifestyles.

What can you do? What can I do? Perhaps this is a call to arms, a time to step forward and cross the line drawn in the sand.

Men, women, boys and girls, you know and I know that something has to be done for the good health of Sandy and your quality of life.

If you have ideas that can help Sandy become a healthier place to live, jot them down and mail them to me at the address below or go on line at and leave me your comments.

Let's get together and see how our lives can change.

Paul Ricker is a certified personal trainer at Mt. Hood Athletic Club in Sandy. Ricker has been involved in teaching and promoting physical fitness for more than 40 years as a teacher, coach, rehabilitation exercise expert, athletic trainer and personal trainer. A 14 year resident of Sandy, Ricker has been associated with Mt. Hood Athletic Club since the opening of the Sandy facility. His mailing address is 37095 E. Highway 26, Sandy, OR 97055.

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