Overweight and Obesity in America

Obesity is a major health hazard in most developed countries around the world. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 35 percent of the adult population in Industrialized nations is obese. Obesity and being overweight are not the same thing. Overweight is defined as being up to 20 pounds over your recommended weight. Obese is defined as being 30 or more pounds over your ideal body weight. (American Heart Association) About 68 percent of U. S. adults age 20 and older are overweight, and 34 percent are obese. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) More than 120 million people are overweight and 30 million are obese. Before 1990, not a single state reported an obesity rate above 15 percent of the states total population (includes both adults and children). By the year 2009, only Colorado and the District of Columbia had an obesity rate below 20 percent, and 33 states had an obesity rate equal to or greater than 25 percent, including nine states with a rate above 30 percent.

The State of Kansas has observed obesity trends rise from 15-19 percent in 1995 to 25-29 percent in 2009. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) J. Stein, “The Epidemic of Obesity,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89 (2004): 2522-2525 states that the total cost attributable to treat obesity related illness and disease was estimated at $117 billion per year. The average “screen time” that a 25 year old and younger is 8 hours per day in front of a computer monitor, TV, 2 texting, cell phone, gaming and internet. Boys spend more time watching TV and gaming where girls spend more time on the phone, texting and social media. The technology age since the 1990’s has contributed to the U. S. obesity rate. Fast food restaurants and industrialized food has also been a verifiable cause. With our society today there are lofty expectations to have everything faster, bigger and cheaper. The fast food industry filled this demand with the introduction of “food bundles”. A food bundle example would be a double quarter pounder with cheese, super-size fries and super-size drink and you have a 1,300 + calorie meal full of sugar and saturated fat. We also have become a lot more sedentary with our behavior. We try to find the closest place to park when we shop at the mall or grocery store.

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We all have electronic addictions to the computer, internet, television, cable TV, cell phones, texting, surround sound, XBOX, PlayStation, Wii, I Pods, tablets, laptops, Blue Ray, VCR, CD’s, DVD’s, and many more house hold electronics and appliances. With all of these electrical items our desire and interest to exercise and explore the outdoors has fallen by the way side. Teenage obesity is one of the largest groups to feel the impact of this dilemma. Children simply do not have the drive, desire or interest in exercise and fitness. Today’s youth is addicted to sugar and the Electronic age

Obesity and being overweight is not the same thing. Overweight is defined as being up to 20 pounds over your recommended weight. Obese is defined as being 30 or more pounds over your ideal body weight (American Heart Association). About 68 percent of U. S. adults’ age 20 and older are overweight, and 34 percent are obese (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention). Overall more than 120 million people are overweight and 30 million are obese. Before 1990, not a single state reported an obesity rate above 15 percent of the state’s population (includes both adults and children).

By the 3 year 2009, only Colorado and the District of Columbia had an obesity rate below 20 percent, and 33 states had an obesity rate equal to or greater than 25 percent, including nine states with a rate above 30 percent. The State of Kansas has observed obesity trends rise from 15-19 percent in 1995, to 25-29 percent in 2009. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention). According to Stein, “The Epidemic of Obesity,” states that the total cost attributable to treat obesity related illness and disease was estimated at $117 billion er year. We all have addictions, such as the computer, Internet, television, cell phones, laptops, IPod and I pad and many more household electronics and appliances. With all of these electrical items our desire and interest to exercise and explore the outdoors has fallen by the wayside. Teenagers, in particular, are one of the largest groups to feel the impact of new technologies. Children simply do not have the drive, desire or interest in exercise and fitness.

Today’s Americans are addicted to sugar and the electronic age. Davis) In 2009, Karen Davis from The American Heart Association reported research indicating that the average American has a sugar intake of 100 grams per day. Energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee and sodas were the largest source of added sugar in the United States diet. Since the 1990s the technology age has contributed to the U. S. obesity rate. Fast food restaurants and processed food have also been a verifiable cause. (Murphy,Maureen) In our current society, are lofty expectations to have everything faster, bigger and cheaper. The fast food industry filled this demand with the introduction of “food bundles”.

One food bundle example is McDonald’s Quarter-pounder with cheese, super- size fries and a super-size soft drink, which adds up to a 1,300+ calorie meal full of sugar and saturated fat. Poor diet is the major cause of this obesity epidemic, along with the 4 lack of exercise. Junk food is often cheap, quickly and readily available, also heavily promoted and advertised. The sugar in junk food is also addictive Meanwhile, healthy food is often more expensive and requires more effort to buy, prepare and cook, but changing one’s diet could save a life.

Our nation has also become a lot more sedentary with its behavior. We try to find the closest place to park when we shop at the mall, grocery store or ball game. The average “screen time” that a 25 year-old or younger is 8 hours per day in front of a computer monitor, TV, texting, cell phone, gaming and internet. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 35 percent of the adult population in industrialized nations is obese. Obesity is a major health hazard in most developed countries around the world.

Now that we have a better understanding of the differences of being overweight and obesity, we can formulate options for solutions that help address this epidemic. One solution to the problem is to better educate ourselves and our children on the benefits of proper diet. When I was in high school at Ottawa, Kansas, the administration decided to experiment with the male version of Home Economics. This new class was called “Bachelor Living. ” The primary focus of this class was on household duties, which included cooking, shopping for food, using recipes, cleaning, sewing and many other domestic chores.

We learned how to mend clothes, bake, and many other skills that have proved most beneficial through my life. This class was the single most useful course that I have ever had. It basically helped to give me a good road map on how to get by in life. This could be a good platform to expand studies in health, exercise and nutrition needs. Another solution would be increased education in all of our school systems on eating healthy, nutrition, how to read and understand food labels, as well enlighten us on what 5 foods to eat, and the foods we should steer away from.

Also, better choices from vending machines with more healthy options of fresh fruits, vegetables, low calorie snacks and low to zero sugar in drinks would all be sound choices. Basically, education on exercise and nutrition will be the best answer to fight the obesity epidemic in our country. Will our state and federal government’s be willing to step in and institute a broad change in the fast food, and junk food industries? Change the vending machines and food choices in our public and private schools? Should there be full disclosure of the health risks that exist from these food and drinks?

Should these food types be graded A-F and also color code the consumer warning labels of the product details including calories, cholesterol, saturated fats and grams of sugar. Fooducate is a Smartphone application that is an excellent reference tool to monitor and regulate your own food selection and choices. It rates food and drinks with much disclosure of contents. Maybe we can learn from the hard lesson that the tobacco industry experienced, and shape it to address and tackle a major obesity and health care epidemic here in the United States.

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