Obesity is a serious problem in the United States. As it is increasing, it is important to learn about obesity, the risks associated with it, and how to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
Statistics In The United States
Weight issues range from moderately overweight to morbidly obese. It affects adults of both genders, adolescents, and children.
Recent statistics show more than a third of America’s adult population is overweight, and around 17% of American children and teens are overweight.
Health Risks Associated With Obesity
There are many health risks connected to obesity. One of the most common is diabetes. When a person is overweight, the cells in his body do not work properly. His insulin levels are directly affected by his weight.
Diabetes is not the only health risk connected to obesity. Individuals who are overweight are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease, having a stroke, and developing high blood pressure. The risk of many common cancers also increases in individuals whose weight is above normal.
What Is Causing Obesity?
A number of factors have contributed to the increase in obesity during recent years. Each of these factors must be acknowledged, understood, and addressed.
One of the most significant problems is the pressure to acknowledge obesity as normal. One aspect of this is what is currently accepted as normal. From only two decades ago, the alleged ideal weight for American women is eleven pounds more, and fourteen pounds more for American men. On average, adults weigh twenty-five pounds more than adults in 1960.
The second aspect is the trend to accept and view overweight individuals as healthy and attractive. From fashion models to celebrities, individuals who are severely overweight present themselves as the way a person should look.
Third, people don’t walk anymore. They are hanging out on social networks, playing games at online casinos, watching movies on their desktops. That is not healthy. And that trend is here to stay.
While these new cultural trends are increasing obesity as a serious health threat, there are other factors that add to the problem. One example is healthy eating habits are not as common as they were in the past. More and more Americans are relying on junk food and processed foods that are high in fats and calories, rather than enjoying all of the benefits that come from healthy, home-cooked foods.
The healthy habit of three meals per day is also not as popular as it was in the past. It has been replaced by a number of unhealthy habits. Individuals who are not accustomed to three meals a day often resort to eating throughout the day, or not eating at all until they are hungry enough to engage in the habit known as binge-eating. Both of these practices cause a person to consume more calories and less nutrition.
There is a general opinion that smoking protects against weight gain and this may influence popularity and continuation of smoking.
The study comprised 499,504 adults aged 31 to 69 years. Overall, current smokers were less likely to be obese than never smokers. However, there was no significant association in the youngest sub-group (≤40 years). Former smokers were more likely to be obese than both current smokers and never smokers. Among smokers, the risk of obesity increased with the amount smoked and former heavy smokers were more likely to be obese than former light smokers. Risk of obesity fell with time from quitting smoking. After 30 years, former smokers still had higher risk of obesity than current smokers but the same risk as never smokers.
What Can We Do About Obesity?
For the sake of general health and a longer lifespan, obesity must be acknowledged as a health threat and a threat to one’s quality of life. One step is for physicians, teachers, and loved ones to approach overweight persons with compassion and education. While no one should be made to feel embarrassed over his weight, overweight individuals should be encouraged to address the problem rather than simply accepting it.
Second, healthy eating habits must be priority. Men, women, and children need to learn about proper nutrition, and the important role a balanced diet has in their lives. People of all ages need to schedule routine mealtimes in their daily lives, and have three nutritious meals each day.
No one needs to be obese. American children, teens, and adults should not have to suffer the consequences of obesity by increasing serious risks to their health and shorter lives. When we address these problems and move toward solutions, more Americans can be healthy instead of being overweight.