Obesity in America
Obesity continues to rank No. 1 on the list of nutrition-related problems in American society. In 2009, just one state -- Colorado -- had a population of obese people below 20 percent of its total population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity continues to be a major concern because children represent the future of America, and obesity numbers among them continue to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in the 30 years leading up to 2007, obesity among children between ages 6 to 19 more than tripled. Obesity not only impacts lifestyle but can also lead to lower self-esteem, cause ...view middle of the document...
3. Non-Hispanic white people have an obesity rate of 25.2%. Other races (i.e. Asians) have the lowest obesity rate of 16.7%.
4. Women really lie about their height and weight.
5. 72.5 million American adults are obese.
6. Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have the lowest obesity rates in the country.
7. The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.
Why people become fat.
1. The food factor.
Practically everywhere we go — shopping centers, sports stadiums, movie theaters — food is readily available. You can buy snacks or meals at roadside rest stops, 24-hour convenience stores, even gyms and health clubs. Americans are spending far more on foods eaten out of the home: In 1970, we spent 27% of our food budget on away-from-home food; by 2006, that percentage had risen to 46%.
In the 1950s, fast-food restaurants offered one portion size. Today, portion sizes have ballooned (see Figure 2), a trend that has spilled over into many other foods, from cookies and popcorn to sandwiches and steaks. A typical serving of French fries from McDonald’s contains three times more calories than when the franchise began. A single “super-sized” meal may contain 1,500–2,000 calories — all the calories that most people need for an entire day. And research shows that people will often eat what’s in front of them, even if they’re already full.
Portion sizes for foods commonly consumed outside the home have increased over the years, and many experts believe this has contributed to overweight and obesity. Consider a typical fast-food meal that consists of a hamburger, French fries, and a soda. In 1955, consumers were offered only one portion size. Today they can select from multiple portion sizes. The chart above shows how all these portions compare, adjusting for size inflation over the years.
2. The exercise equation
The government’s current recommendations for exercise call for an hour of moderate to energetic exercise a day. But fewer than 25% of Americans meet that goal. According to a 2004 CDC report, the percentage of people who say they do no leisure-time physical activity (such as walking, golfing, or gardening) dropped from a high of 32% in 1989 to 25% in 2002.Our daily lives don’t offer many opportunities for activity. Children don’t exercise as much in school, often because of cutbacks in physical education classes. Many people drive to work and spend much of the day sitting at a computer terminal.
Because we work long hours, we have trouble finding the time to go to the gym, play a sport, or exercise in other ways. Instead of walking to local shops and toting shopping bags, we drive to one-stop megastores, where we park close to the entrance, wheel our purchases in a shopping cart, and drive home. The widespread use of vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, leaf blowers, and a host of other appliances takes nearly all the physical effort out of daily chores.