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The disconnect in health

Janis Kleinberger, the director of Emerging Healthcare, has an enthusiasm when it comes to helping people lead healthier lifestyles. She gets really excited when she talks about programs, classes and work her local non-profit does to combat obesity, stress and poor nutrition.

The problem, as the director confided in a recent meeting with the Progress editor, is the people she wants to help aren’t nearly as excited about her offerings as she is.

Kleinberger was frank in admitting there is a “disconnect” when it comes to reaching the people who could most benefit from what Emerging Healthcare offers.

At the Progress, she was  sounding for advice on how she might encourage more participation in the nutrition classes, fitness programs and other offerings connected through her service. We could not give her much help, though she asked worthy questions: Why don’t people who could benefit from healthier lifestyles take advantage of services that would make their lives both longer and better?

Chronic obesity has become not just a Pickens problem but a nationwide epidemic.

A recent article in the Newnan Times Herald about the state’s SHAPE program noted, “Nationwide, obesity rates tripled for children and doubled for adults over the past three decades. Georgia is among the worst states with 37.3 percent of its children ages 10 to 17 overweight or obese, according to the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health.”

The question is essentially very simple, but perhaps unanswerable: Why don’t people do the things that are good for them? Why don’t we eat better and get some exercise?

It’s surely not a case of ignorance. With all the attention to obesity in media, it’s inconceivable that anyone remains unaware of the dangers of obesity. We have all been told how poor diet and lack of exercise greatly increase the risks of heart attack, diabetes, stroke and a host of other ailments that will surely disable you, shorten your lifespan or make you miserable.

Kleinberger said the number-one time she gets clients is after their first heart attack or after the doctor’s diagnosis of something bad. The warnings that surely preceded the onset of the condition – in the time when prevention could have made a difference – are not heeded, she said.

With Emerging Healthcare, as with any good program, a permanent change is stressed, not a radical, painful or expensive fad diet promising a swimsuit body in a matter of days.

Kleinberger emphasizes group effort, so that there is peer support. Having someone to walk with and to talk with about nutrition greatly improves long-term success.

Coming up is a perfect chance to both think about and do something about, your own health. The 5 STAR 5K and One Mile Fun Run on October 29th is touted by Emerging Healthcare as a first-timer-friendly event. Emerging Healthcare is hoping to attract new walkers with the goal of getting them ready for this event. Watch for more details on it and for upcoming columns on healthy lifestyles in future editions of the Progress.

What Kleinberger and Emerging Healthcare (as well as every nutritionist and health professional in the country) really want to know now is what holds you back from making healthy lifestyle changes? What are the obstacles to eating better and exercising more? If you know someone who could use a lifestyle change, what would motivate them to get started?

So for Emerging Healthcare, we’re asking. Give your answers however you prefer.

You can e-mail Kleinberger privately at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or you can make your thoughts available for others to ponder on the Progress website (pickensprogress.com). You can look for this article under editorials on our Facebook page (follow link from website), or you can send us an old- fashioned letter to the editor (see info at bottom of this section).

We are interested to see what our readers can offer on why we just can’t seem to eat any better or exercise more often.

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