Obesity is rampart in the United States and very little is improving over time. For years researchers have pointed out that Americans are getting fatter and unhealthier, and during that time diet plans and drugs have come with the solution to the problem then fallen away. We are getting fatter, and we aren’t doing anything about it.
What is Obesity?
The clinical definition of obesity is a body mass index over 30. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a formula that compares height and weight. It is measured in ranges – a healthy BMI falls between 19 and 26. Overweight BMI numbers are between 26 and 30, and numbers over 30 are considered obese.
Currently 127 million individuals in the United States are considered overweight. 60 million are obese and 9 million are severely obese. This means over half of the population in the US weighs more than they should and their health is suffering.
Causes of Obesity
There are many factors contributing to obesity. Genetics play a strong role as well as eating and exercise habits. Portion sizes have grown and exercise has decreased which has helped expand waistlines considerably. New research suggests that there might even be a disease that contributes to developing body fat.
The most widely accepted cause of obesity is poor lifestyle choices. From childhood, diets consist of fatty foods high in calories and cholesterol. Exercise for children and adults has severely diminished and in some cases, disappeared all together. We are eating more and burning fewer calories during the day. These two factors combine to help pack on the pounds and the problem just keeps growing – literally.
The diet, medical and pharmaceutical industries have been trying to cure the obesity epidemic for years. New diet plans are introduced regularly, surge in popularity and then fall off. Some have stood the test of time such as Weight Watchers and Slim Fast, but others have been long forgotten.
Companies introduce diet drugs frequently as well, but none have been shown to be safe and effective. Those that do show results, such as Fen-Phen, have serious health complications such as affecting the patient’s heart. Others do little combined with the still unhealthy food and lack of exercise.
Dieticians and personal trainers work to increase exercise and reduce calories, and doctors are performing more gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries than ever before. But even with all of this, obesity rates continue to climb.
It seems the best solution to solving the obesity problem is to avoid becoming obese in the first place. Parents should closely monitor their child’s diet and push for physical activities. Taking a walk or a bike ride can help keep anyone fit, and finding healthy foods on menus and at the grocery store can keep calories under control.
There are few effective measures short of perseverance in diet and exercise, or perhaps the occasional surgery or supplement, to control weight once it has gotten out of control. Instead, perhaps we should consider a strong offense against an unhealthy lifestyle the best defense again obesity.