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FIRST-PERSON: We are sabotaging ourselves

DALLAS (BP)–Webster defines “sabotage” as “destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort.” In America, we are fighting a battle against the many destructive “lifestyle diseases” like diabetes that plague our nation.

Diabetes doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years of sabotage. Unfortunately, we encourage the destruction during childhood. Candy, soft drinks and other sugary items are served at children’s parties and as snacks or rewards in Sunday School. Many adults start the sabotage at the earliest years. I’ve even seen parents giving their infants and toddlers soft drinks in their bottles.

Video games and television are other culprits. Instead of playing outside or being involved in sports, too many children are playing video games or parked mindlessly in front of the TV.

The results of this sabotage are serious:

— We’re raising physically unfit children.

— We’re instilling bad habits that can last a lifetime.

— Unfit children have a greater chance of becoming diabetic as juveniles or adults.

In the GuideStone Financial Resources Wellness Center at the 2005 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, a pastor came up to me and said, “You probably don’t remember me, but two years ago you tested my blood, and my sugar was 468. You got in my face and told me I might not make it to next year’s convention if I didn’t change my life.” This pastor saw his doctor, and with diet and exercise had reduced his blood sugar to 131.

I recently read an article that linked the skill involved in playing video games to the skill needed to perform microscopic robotic surgery where the surgeon looks at a video screen while working a robotic surgical instrument. Surgeons are also known to have practiced cross-stitch, embroidery or knitting to enhance their suturing skills.

This kind of “training” can be good, but just like everything else in our lives, we need to have balance in our play time. Even as adults, we should make the time to “play” at physical activities.

In addition to warding off diseases like diabetes, participating in physical activity can be fun. Remember when your mom had to “holler” for you to come in from playing outside? We need to adopt that mindset again –- whatever our age. Eating right and exercising is taking responsibility for the life God has given us.
Tamara Quintana is a graduate of All Saints Episcopal Hospital School of Vocational Nursing and the director of the employee wellness program for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • Tamara Quintana