The Obesity Problem In America And How To Deal With It

Obesity is a serious health problem that’s been around for ages. You see it each and every day you get out of the house. You may even be one of the people who are suffering from it, or you may know someone else who is battling the condition. You also see it in the way the weight loss industry has grown to gigantic proportions over the years. The prevalence of obesity presents huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to come up with products and services that promise to take off the extra pounds. Yes, the condition is nothing new, but how big of a problem is it now? Check out the following information on America’s obesity problem and how to deal with it.

The Obesity Problem in America

Although it is safe to say that the existence and effects of obesity can be felt in every corner of the world, one of the countries most affected is the United States of America. According to the well cited sources of the article “Obesity in the United States,” the country’s obesity rates can be counted among the most astronomical in the entire planet. Throughout the decades, the rates have risen bit by bit – from the estimated 13% in the 1960s to approximately 19% in the 1990s until the condition touched a whopping 33.8% of adult Americans and 17% of the American youth in 2008. Now, these rates may appear to be minimal to you, but if you consider the actual total population of the nation, you’ll discover that the number of obese Americans has reached an alarming level.

To get a clearer idea of how grave the situation is, zoom in on the numbers. Based on the information gathered from a survey on National Health and Nutrition Examination from the years 2003 to 2006 as well as the years 2007 and 2008, over one-third of American adults are obese. This means that one in every three grown persons you encounter in the States has the health condition. Furthermore, according to the data acquired from the said survey, two in every three American adults are either obese or overweight. Judging by these statistics, only one-third of American adults can be considered of normal weight.

While mulling over those disturbing facts, you might also want to know how obesity has cost a lot of people a lot of money in health care. The health problem doesn’t just stop at obesity, after all. The condition has been implicated as a risk factor for developing a number of other health-ravaging illnesses. Among many others, the conditions that obesity may lead to include Type II diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancers, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, menstrual abnormalities, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, and a plethora of other conditions you surely don’t want to get.

According to the article by Siemond Chan, the United States’ public health costs related to obesity jumped to as much as $75 billion in the year 2003. Furthermore, obese individuals shell out $1429 more per year than what normal-weight people spend for health care costs in the same time period. Obese patients are also costing Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies more than those whose weight fall within normal ranges. If America’s obesity rates continue to grow at the same levels, then by 2018, the country’s obesity-attributed expenses could be more than Denmark’s 2010 GDP.

How to Deal with the Obesity Problem

Undeniably, obesity comes with a great number of grave consequences. Not only does it affect the entire health of the obese individual, but it also eats up a huge chunk of the whole country’s economic resources. If obesity is left unaddressed and is allowed to continue rearing its fat and ugly head, the devastation and ruins left in its wake may be the downfall of an otherwise invincible nation. So it’s really time to get down to the serious business of dealing with and eradicating the problem.

No matter what anyone says, staying within normal weight ranges goes beyond just counting the number of calories you take in and burn in a given day. Obese and overweight people would totally agree on this. There are just so many things that may affect one’s physical fitness that a single, simple solution is no solution at all. If that were the case, then the rates wouldn’t have reached such distressing levels, would they? Staying fit and healthy is such a complex matter, so the obesity problem needs to be attacked from several angles and from different levels of society.

Finding solutions to the problem must start within the self and at home. Overweight kids can grow to become obese adults, and preventing or resolving the problem in the early years will go a long way towards eliminating future complications. The hustle and bustle of everyday life may be one cause of unhealthy eating habits leading to excess weight and fat. Instead of ordering Chinese take-out or greasy pizza every night, parents should take a bit more time to prepare healthier meal options. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but who said this was going to be easy? Rather than bonding with each other by eating junk food while watching movies, you’d do better to gather everyone up for an active and fun game of badminton or some other sports. Even something as simple as turning off the television set while eating can go a long way towards developing healthier habits. Once your kids are used to living a healthy lifestyle, they’re less likely to adopt behaviors that could lead to weight loss problems.

The home isn’t the only place that needs intervening. The society at large needs to put in more efforts, too. The schools, for instance, should commit to serving healthier food and drinks at the cafeteria, but should not stop at such a superficial approach. Educating students to become more aware of the potential problems that obesity may cause is one method of helping, but providing a quality physical education is even more helpful. Setting aside the physical component of health, the educational institutions would also do well to ensure that the school is bullying-free. Ever heard of emotional eating? It isn’t a myth, you know. Happier students are less prone to turning to food as a way to escape their problems.

Another sector of society that must pitch in is the workplace. Adults should be given the same amount of attention as the kids, if not more. Promoting healthier lifestyle habits in the workplace, such as walking up the stairs instead of riding the elevators, may be the key to solving the problem. Providing incentives for employees to exercise, like discounted memberships to fitness gyms, are great investments for the employers, considering the potential drop in absenteeism and company-shouldered health care costs. Other members of the society, including businessmen and restaurant owners, could also lend a hand.

Obesity is a particularly difficult problem to defeat, but when everyone works towards that same goal, it isn’t impossible. Hand in hand, Americans can fight this ugly condition and win the battle.

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Marvelous is a freelance writer specializing in the health and fitness field.  You can find more of her work at fitness blog Fitz101.com.

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