Your fitness level and the lifestyle choices you make have always been important, but they are now taking on even more meaning that could have a significant impact on your quality of life and the quality of life that you are able to provide for your family. The issue at hand has many facets to it and the only simple answer in it all is that you are responsible for improving your fitness and health and that of your children by showing them the way.


Healthcare costs have risen in this country to epidemic proportions that are only dwarfed by the near pandemic level of obesity that is present in the population of the United States. We all pay for these costs whether we are thick or thin, fit or fat, in higher insurance costs and taxes to support programs for the poor and uninsured.


Employers have bared the weight of a lot of these costs in providing benefits such as group insurance to employees. Rising premiums are forcing many employers to rethink whether to offer such benefits at all or to exclude employees whose poor health and fitness levels drive up costs, from participation in insurance packages.


Some employers have even resorted to punitive measures such as deducting money from the salaries of employees who have demonstrated poor fitness and health such as high cholesterol, excessive weight, and those that smoke and use tobacco products. A few employers are requiring cholesterol and tobacco level screenings prior to hiring, and are denying employment to some based upon these results.


Whether these punitive measures, including denial of employment, that some employers are feeling compelled to institute in an effort to stem the tide of American workers becoming increasingly more unfit and unhealthy will hold up in the courts, remains to be seen. Insurance companies have long been denying coverage to people they felt were high risk candidates that would cost more to insure than low risk candidates.


Not being fit or engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking could result in you earning less money from your job, or even from getting the job you want if employers continue implementing these punitive measures and the courts support their right to do so. Earning less money from work or not being able to find work at all will of course have an impact on how you are living now and in the future. It will also affect what you will be able to provide for your family.


However the issue of fitness and health goes way beyond jobs, healthcare and insurance costs, taxes, and money. We need to pull our heads out of the sand or stop sitting on the couch forcing our bosses and foreseeably the government, to fix a problem that is of our own making, and our responsibility to solve.


The only innocents in this are children. We have not shown them the way to fitness and health by teaching them about proper diet and exercise and the avoidance of harmful lifestyle choices like smoking. We allow our children to eat unhealthy manufactured foods containing high levels of sugar and unhealthy additives with little nutrition. If we didn’t buy them, manufacturers would have no choice but to produce healthy and nutritious products. 


We permit our children to watch television unsupervised where advertisers purposely target them to get them wanting to eat unhealthy, brightly packaged foods, when we should be turning the TV off more and getting the whole family involved in physical activities.


Children cannot protect themselves, we have to. They are not born knowing what good nutrition, health, and fitness are. We have to teach them and show them the way by taking responsibility for our own health and fitness and ensuring that our behaviors and actions reflect responsible fitness and health practices.


If your fitness and health are poor, you will live poorer and die sooner. Disregard your own health and by doing so teach children to disregard theirs , they too will live poorer lives and die sooner.  Let us instead start the process of getting our fitness and health levels where they need to be for long and healthy living, and let us show the children the way.