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After blogging for most of the year about the benefits of exercise and the national need for obesity prevention, as your Grand Rapids Chiropractor I am pleased and gratified to inform you that this month obesity prevention is being “officially emphasized” by that National Chiropractic Association. Since 2004, October has been National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM), a nationwide campaign sponsored by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Why are both the ACA and NCHM calling attention to obesity prevention, and not the more “traditional” focus on back pain, for instance? Well, the fact is that the ACA recognizes chiropractic professionals as preventive care providers with expertise in optimizing health, as well as treating musculoskeletal problems that result from accident, injury, or the aging process. This year’s theme, “Why Weight? Get Healthy,” highlights doctor-of-chiropractic approved prevention and treatment options for patients dealing with obesity. And, if you don’t already know from reading my past blogs, obesity affects more than 60 percent of adults in the United States (according to the Center for Disease Control).

Dr. Rick McMichael, president of the ACA said, “This is an important opportunity to educate the public on the general health benefits of chiropractic care, which include so much more than simply the expert hands-on care that DCs are so well known for.”

As I have been writing about (and hopefully you have been reading about), obesity frequently has detrimental effects on the musculoskeletal system. Excess weight causes back and neck strain, and can contribute to osteoarthritis, which often keeps obese people from physical activity. This official emphasis on preventative healthcare provides important recognition and confirmation that in addition to pain relief and prevention, doctors of chiropractic are trained nutrition specialists, as well, and can offer natural ways for patients to combat obesity.

Dr. Gerard Clum, president of Life Chiropractic College West and also a spokes person for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, stresses that there are many strategies that are used to address obesity concerns. The most important and the most well established are basic changes in lifestyle related to food, physical activity and personal motivation. “Doctors of chiropractic represent an under-utilized resource for addressing this critical health and societal concern,” says Clum. “The hands-on nature of chiropractic care lends itself to opportunities for advice, counseling and encouragement to address this important health risk.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the many benefits associated with chiropractic care) is joining the ACA in this year’s obesity prevention campaign by offering the following healthy living tips:

– Follow a balanced diet – emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans

– Eat less harmful food – reduce intake of sugar, soda, fats and processed foods

– Drink plenty of water – try for several glasses a day

– Exercise regularly – aim for 20 – 30 minutes, three to four times a week

– Stay positive – the right attitude will lead to greater success

Foundation for Chiropractic Progress