by CHRIS FIELDS
How our ‘freedom’ can jeopardize our health
Recently, Congress and the Senate passed laws that fast-food restaurants must track and report all purchases and purchasers. Arrest warrants will be issued for individuals who have two or more “unhealthy” visits a month. Unhealthy is considered anything fried in animal fat or containing excessive animal fat, anything with more than five grams of sugar, anything acidic, anything containing dyes or food coloring, and any purchases that exceed 500 calories. State officials also must monitor park/walking trail visits, gym visits, visits to primary care providers and other physical activities. Fines and jail time will be given to all who do not meet federal physical activity requirements as defined by the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” 2nd Edition.
OK, just kidding — but what if this were true? What if living an unhealthy life jeopardized your freedom? What if the consequences for not properly stewarding your temple sent you away for life to an army-style boot camp that served you nothing but whole foods (chicken, fish, fresh veggies, fresh fruits), and where you were required to exercise three times a day for six months? What if you had to pay fines for not meeting physical activity standards or for carrying excessive weight? If you had the same consequences for not following a physical fitness law as there are for breaking moral laws (existing governing laws), what would you do?
The reason many of us don’t run out and kill someone when they make us mad is because of our conscience and fear of our freedom being compromised. That same conscience tells us when our eating is excessive and we aren’t being active enough, but we continue, because our freedom isn’t compromised — or so we think.
We view freedom as being able to do what we want, coming and going as we please. But our “freedom” — our ability to do what we want with our bodies — has placed us in a diseased state. Obesity affects close to half of Mississippians. Diabetes is rising, obesity-related cancers are rising, heart diseases, heart attacks and stroke rates are rising. Preventable diseases (lifestyle-related diseases) are rising. Science is now linking inactivity to the decline in cognitive performance as we age, along with decreased mobility. All of this puts severe restraints on our quality of life. It puts our will to live in dangerous territory. It shackles and constrains us from living how we were created to live. It puts the life Jesus died for us to have at risk.
The unhealthy lifestyle law isn’t real, but the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is. It was adopted and placed in circulation by the federal government in 2008 because Americans aren’t meeting the minimum physical activity requirements our body demands, and it’s placing our freedom to live healthy lives at risk.
Movement is one of the only things God has given us that remains free, and it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves, not only to keep us away from a life of disease and infirmity but also to give us the strength to live longer, prosperous lives. We must show Him how grateful we are for this most precious gift and begin to honor Him, if we aren’t already, by being more active, exercising regularly and eating better.
Exercise and proper nutrition have long been the catalysts to physical health, with proper nutrition dating all the way back before Daniel to the Mosaic law, and with the first recorded prescription of exercise as medicine dating back to Hippocrates between 460 and 370 B.C.
Last month, H.E.A.L. Mississippi had our first prayer luncheon for leading health professionals in the state, and we gave the adverse health outcomes of Mississippians to Jesus. My prayer for you and for everyone is that we understand His complete will and walk in it so we all may prosper and be in good health, as our soul prospers.
Tips for good health
◼︎ Add extra steps to your day.
◼︎ Park your car as far away as possible to walk longer distances to and from your destination.
◼︎ Walk back and forth while watching kids’ sporting activities.
◼︎ Plant and care for a vegetable garden (then cook the vegetables for healthy meals).
◼︎ Start your day with a morning stretch.
◼︎ Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.
◼︎ Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats.
◼︎ Reduce sodium.
◼ Eat the rainbow — not Skittles, but veggies and fruits.
Chris Fields is the founder and executive director of H.E.A.L. Mississippi and a graduate in kinesiology with advance studies in nutrition. He serves as a clinical exercise physiologist/CPT and is credentialed in Exercise Is Medicine through American College of Sports Medicine.