The Obesity Epidemic

Screening Tests for Good Health
July 8, 2012
Workplace Germs
July 16, 2012

You can see it everywhere, such as people in the parks munching on chips and sweets while sitting on blankets instead of running around with their kids on the playground or people in baggy shorts and tops, trying to hide their fat. People seem to have gotten lazier and are not making use of the hiking trails, sidewalks and roadways to get their exercise.

Doctors are saying we are living in the moment, not thinking about the long-term bad consequences of their health in the future. The bad consequences, however, have already arrived in many countries. The obesity rate is higher than 20 percent throughout America with 30 percent obesity rates in about twelve states. The biggest health hazards for kids today are lack of activity and unhealthy eating habits.

Now 32 percent of children are either overweight or obese and 32-35 percent of adults in US are overweight. This has just happened in the last couple of decades. It’s because we have become more sedentary, spending our time on computers or sitting in front of a television. Only four percent of the people actually get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day. Cooking food is something we don’t have time for so we eat take-out or eat food that is highly processed and unhealthy for us.

The biggest problem is that most people don’t think they’re fat when they are. They see really fat people and think, “I’m not like that” and go on eating unhealthy foods not realizing what they’re doing to their bodies. The other problem is that humans appear to be hard-wired to like sweets. Even newborns prefer sweeter formula over breastfed milk. And eating is a habit that is hard to break. We have to eat and it’s tough to break the habit of eating bad foods.

According to research, the average person will last on a diet for about six months before reverting to their previous habits. People should try a diet that they can actually adhere to so that they can create new habits of eating that stick. Most people who diet can’t keep the weight off. In fact, among those who have lost a great deal of weight, many have gained it all back within five years.

Obesity is costing a great deal of money. Employers in US estimate that they are losing $226 billion per year or more on lost productivity in obese people who have personal or family health issues. Some companies are choosing where to locate based on the obesity rates in the counties they plan to build plants at. Fatter people just don’t have the same productivity as thinner people.

Doctors need to personalize the effects of weight gain on people. It’s not enough to say that “you’ll be dead in a few years”. Rather tell them what they’ll be missing by not losing the weight. Sometimes, this makes all the difference in the world and people change their ways of eating and exercising.