Storytelling: A Solution to the Obesity Epidemic Pt 1

by Barry Hill

Obesity Epidemic

A Solution Towards Obesity Epidemic

We know that the obesity epidemic is a serious public health problem.  Not only is the physical health of our population at risk, but so too is our financial health.  Obesity costs money!!  Even for those who are fit, the problem affects you too.  It’s been universally accepted as a “social problem”.  Dr. Rajiv Kumar, founder and CEO of employee wellness company ShapeUp, speaks to how we can start to solve this social problem, with a social solution.  What’s more social than people sharing their own stories?!  This is a two-part series on the power of storytelling for communicating and affecting real change in regards to healthier, more fit lifestyles.

Part 1 History:

Storytelling is a means for sharing and interpreting experiences.  27,000 years ago, cave paintings in the Pyrenees Mountains were first discovered.  These images depicted what appeared to be events in a sequence….in it’s rawest form, they were stories in a visual format.

Christian doctrine has arguably the world’s most well-known stories, including Jesus’ parables.  These stories are know for both their simplicity and memorable qualities.  Though seemingly simple on the surface, the parables often convey a deeper meaning, central to Jesus’ teachings.  So it would be safe to say that these stories were used as teaching tools.

Somewhat similarly, most of us remember the story of “The Tortoise and The Hare” from Aesop’s collection of Fables.  This folktale again, served the purpose of teaching a lesson–moral or ethical in nature.  Though at the age of 5 or 6, we may have mis-concluded from this story that rabbits = bad and turtles = good, later we were hopefully enlightened of the nuances intended in the stories.

Throughout our human history, fictional and non-fictional stories have played an integral role in how we interpret the world around us…how we convey new ideas…how we are entertained…as well as how one civilization or generation can learn from the past for the better of the whole.

Stay tuned next week for part two of the series on Fit After Fifty–the scientific evidence of stories as a solution towards our obesity epidemic.



ShapeUp@ TEDx presentation: Can we Crowdsource the Solution to Our Obesity Epidemic?

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