Mel Tempest

The Obesity Epidemic: What we in the fitness industry can do about it

In Australia and around much of the world, obesity rates are climbing. People are getting fatter and people are getting unhealthier and we’re not doing a great deal about it. 

It’s so much easier to sell fitness to fit and healthy people because they are our consumer, and they are us! As a result, the fitness industry dismisses obese people on a regular basis or gives them the wrong information. The problem is, there’s no education on obesity- how to avoid it and how to help encourage people who may be suffering. The education is just not there when our young personal trainers are training themselves. It’s not their fault: it’s a problem of the fitness industry. We are forever chasing what is “new” or what is trendy and fashionable. We only want to project what we see in magazines and what we think will bring feet in the door to pay the bills.

The fitness industry needs to work side-by-side with allied health professionals to reduce the climbing obesity crisis. We need to work with schools to educate children to make better choices. Health clubs can encourage this by running activities and healthy eating workshops. Often, children and teenagers don’t have access to information about exercise, health and well-being. When we don’t arm our children with the right tools we then open them up to a whole new set of issues that come from having a poor body image. It’s not just physical, it’s mental- things like, low self-esteem, mental health problems and becoming a target for bullying. This affects everybody.

People become obese for a number of reasons, however education and mindset play the most important role in recovery. Let’s arm people with the right tools.

Because the media makes the fitness industry appear cool and trendy, the fitness industry should be the first point of call when it comes to making a difference to our obesity epidemic. If we don’t act and do something, our health care system will fail those that desperately need our help. It will become overloaded and strained with long waiting lists flooded with chronic illness caused from unhealthy living.

The fitness industry is part of the health system: we need to ensure that those that give advice are not working outside their scope of training. The best that we can do as club owners and as personal trainers is to seek further education, work with health professionals and, most importantly, start using the media to educate those who are overweight. These people haven’t even walked into your club, yet you are in a position of power to change their lives- they just don’t know it!

In America, Sean Mulroney and Bobby Cappuccio have launched The Obesity Revolution.

Why? Sean is obese. He needs to change his life or he will die. At six, he experimented with drugs and by thirteen he was addicted. The struggle did not end there. He is taking the whole of America on his journey with weight loss to encourage others to make a difference, all whilst he saves his own life. He was dismissed by gyms as being in the “too hard basket” because he was obese and the trainers just didn’t know what to do and finally, years later, he found a trainer who would help. Australia has many Sean’s and we the health and fitness industry owe it to the Sean’s to give them the best possible chance of success, the best possible chance of living. Isn’t that why we are here? Passionate trainers changing the landscape for others?

The fitness industry is a self-regulated industry. This means you can sit back and go with the flow and do nothing or you can stand up and be that person that becomes educated, that makes change, that leaves a legacy for the next generation.

Don’t wait for others to make a difference, be the difference.

To learn more and to listen to my podcast, visit www.meltempest.net

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