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October 2004

Never before in our history have we been so out of shape as we are today. We are paying a heavy price for the good education, excellent business and other opportunities, we are eating far too much too often and we are eating rich foods, travelling and taking frequent vacations and no time to stop and think what are we doing to our bodies and how long can this lifestyle last this good? How much abuse will this body take before it crashes and will I get a warning before that happens and if I am given a warning will I know and will I have time to react and respond?

Obesity, Diabetes, hypertension, Arthritis, Heart disease, Kidney failure, blindness, amputation of the limbs are so much on the rise that Healthcare cant keep up with the demands of sickly young sick patients with multi organ failure . Hospitals are now catering to seriously ill patients with vascular problems that are lifestyle induced. The new Government better be prepared to talk Healthcare and save for a generation of people with premature Heart disease, Strokes ,blocked arteries and open heart surgeries stent placements and stent redoes so fast that we wont be able to keep up. The rising need for better and better technology for early diagnosis and management and the cost of research and more powerful drugs as well as our aging society combined with the shortened productivity is a quick formula to bankruptcy like our nieghbours. Sure one can always buy generic drugs and get online and get cheaper drugs from our neighbours.

What if one didn't want to do all the above? America needs to stop eating all the food in sight and move. The age of Technology has brought its sin also. Faster cars, elevators escalators vacuum cleaner washer dryer computers video games all came with a heavy price tag.

So how will my Desi friends respond to this article? This year alone 650,000 Americans will suffer new heartattacks and 450,000 will have recurrent attacks. Statistics say that within 6 years after a heart attack 18% of men and 35% of women will experience another.For 2003 the direct and indirect cost of heart disease to our economy will cost $130 billion.

There are a few things that families can do. When eating at home or out ensure that a meal starts with a high fiber item ie vegetables with a light dressing or a mixed green salad with a spicy home made dressing that requires very little preparation. For the non-vegetarians have various creative ways to prepare chicken and fish and wild rices lentils and Chanas and daals. Deserts can only be offered on special days and on daily basis offer high fiber fruits. Remember that pineapples mangoes melons and grapes are loaded with sugar and must be consumed in very limited quantities. The high carbohydrate foods that I have often referred to in my speeches to the community as "Sufed Khana" or the white foods are your rice potatoes pastas spagettis breads naans, bagels, pasteries and foods made with wtite flour are your enemies when on a weight loss programme. The Math is very simple . If one is overweight one needs to workout and move faster than one is eating. If you want to have a medium pittza one must be willing to work out on the treadmill THAT VERY DAY for atleast 40 minutes to keep that pitza from parking on the thighs buttocks or beltline.

Over the next few months we will read about what ones ideal body weight should be for ones height and what a BMI is and how one may use it to predict risks of different ailments.

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