27 March, 2020

I’d like to start this post with a link to an informational page on Facebook from Ana Fernandez, a Mazatlán resident about the Covid-19/SARS-CoV-2 virus. https://www.facebook.com/MazatlanCovid19 You’ll find information in other groups as well, but I believe she tries to keep this one on track. As with any information, consider the sources. Have the findings been confirmed through at least one other source? Does what you’re being told make sense? Always approach information skeptically, but with an open mind.

I would also like to give a little perspective to the current situation. YES. I DO realize that this strain of flu is highly virulent. YES. I DO realize that this strain of flu is highly likely to cause death in people susceptible to it who have underlying health issues. YES. I DO recognize the health concerns of being closer than 6 feet from another person when trying to avoid transmitting disease. And I’d also like to state that I’m not judging anyone during this crisis. There are people who are living so close to the edge that losing even a days wages might cause them severe financial harm. There are people whose entire families rely on their wages, or ability to move freely around the city. If you don’t need to be out and about, please stay home or keep to areas away from others. If you are in public areas, make sure you keep a 6 foot or more distance between you and others whenever possible. Wash your hands. Use sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, specifically the ‘T Zone’ (your eyes, nose, and mouth). Sneeze/cough into an elbow.

If you’ve read this far, please continue to the end …

Perspective. According to the World Health Organization (from 2013):

What are the health consequences of being overweight?
Online Q&A
Updated March 2013

Q: What are the health consequences of being overweight?

A: The latest WHO projections indicate that at least one in three of the world’s adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. Additionally there are over 40 million children under age five who are overweight.

Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on health. Carrying extra fat leads to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon). These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.

What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight. Many of these conditions cause long-term suffering for individuals and families. In addition, the costs for the health care system can be extremely high.

The good news is that overweight and obesity are largely preventable. The key to success is to achieve an energy balance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories used on the other hand.

To reach this goal, people can limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and limit their intake of sugars. And to increase calories used, people can boost their levels of physical activity – to at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days.

https://www.who.int/features/qa/49/en/

In a listing of the top 12 causes of death from healthline.com (https://www.healthline.com/health/leading-causes-of-death), obesity factors into six and these six account for 56.07 percent of total deaths, which in 2017 comes to 1,243,714 in the United States alone. And I’m not even factoring in smoking, alcohol, or drug misuse. One million two hundred forty three thousand seven hundred and fourteen deaths in the USA in 2017 either directly or indirectly related to obesity. That means obesity either killed them, or played a part in them dying early. And when you say, “yes, but you can’t infect anyone with your obesity”, give it a little more thought and I’m sure you’ll agree that unhealthy eating is rarely limited to a single family member. Even if it were true that there were no outside influences on a person becoming obese, their death certainly causes trauma and grief for their family and friends. Yet people continue to eat more calories than they burn. And I don’t think there is anyone, outside children, who doesn’t know that obesity is bad for them and will be a factor in their death – yet that doesn’t motivate them to modify their behavior.

And I’m not calling out fat people. I have extra pounds that need to be gone. I’ve also been significantly heavier than I am now. Losing weight is a constant battle I wage. What I AM saying is that each person has their own comfort level with the risk they are willing to take that brings them closer to death. For some it’s Sunday fried chicken dinner. For others it’s taking a walk in isolation during a global outbreak of virulent flu.

Yes, we are now experiencing a pandemic that no one seems to have been prepared to deal with, even though they happen with predictability. There is a shortage of medical supplies and health care professionals. Putting yourself or others needlessly at risk just creates an increasing burden on everything and everyone involved, and could cause the death of someone who couldn’t get the proper medical care. Again, if you do go out, practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Use sanitizer. Don’t touch your face. Sneeze/cough into an elbow. This is responsible behavior; not just now, but any time you’re in public.

Please – be concerned. But be just as concerned when a friend or family member is putting themselves at risk another way. Voice your concern. Offer any assistance you feel you can give. But please don’t judge because someone else has a different risk level, or imminent need, than you do.

And before I end; If you are old enough to remember the 1980’s and didn’t speak up during the AIDS crisis then please embrace your shame. MILLIONS died before any action was taken. MILLIONS. AIDS has taken over 36 Million lives during these four decades and still no one is rushing to find a cure. Think on that one a while.

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