Understanding the Obesity Problem in America

Updated on October 17, 2019

It is widely known that the United States is an obese country, primarily due to its people’s dietary habits. Statistics show that as of 2018, adult obesity rates in the nation’s 51 states range from 23 to as high as 39.5%. Numbers also show that 21% out of 200,000 adult Americans fall to class 2 or 3 obesity.

In addition to this, there are about 50,000 fast food establishments across the U.S., with children eating fast food at an average of 157 million times each month. This is bolstered by location convenience, advertising and merchandising to both children and adults.

Obesity: What is it?

Obesity is a medical condition wherein a person’s body stores and accumulates enormous amounts of body fat. The reasons for increasing obesity rates across the country involve a culture promoting increased food or calorie intake, living a sedentary and inactive lifestyle, and of course, the lack of exercise. If left alone, obesity can lead to a wide range of health risks, suchas diabetes and various heart conditions.

The causes of obesity are diverse, ranging from lifestyles, genetics, calorie intake, and even complications from other conditions like hypothyroidism. Cities such as Salt Lake City and states like California and Montana have seen a small increase in obesity rates compared to West Virginia (38.1%) and Mississippi (37.3%), two of the states with the highest increases as of 2017. These data can indicate differences in people’s lifestyles and eating habits across different parts of the nation.

Psychological consequences

Around 48% of Americans believe that fat-shaming has become a problem in the country. Fat-shaming is a common term used to describe the action of humiliating or making fun of individuals based on their weight and body size. While obesity is more often a health problem, it has also become a psychological concern that deals with matters of self-perception and appearance.

A majority also believe that obese individuals have become stereotyped by the media and the public due to their body weight.They are being accused of being too lazy and not making efforts to lose weight. A common belief is that the stigma of fat-shaming should motivate obese individuals to lose weight. But the truth is this causes more harm than good to their physical health and mental well-being.

Remedies and Prevention

One good way to prevent obesity is to start as early as childhood. That is why almost half of the public schools in the U.S. implement wellness programs, specifically obesity prevention programs, to keep kids from gaining too much weight. This means less fast food and more healthy food choices.

This is one great way to reduce the rapidly increasing obesity rates in the country. By educating children and keeping them aware, schools get to promote living a healthier lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet among their students.

While obesity has also been linked to genetics, it should not mean that you are destined to have it. Having a fitness plan, complete with regular exercise routines and nutritious food choices, can help prevent obesity. These steps will lead you to not only a healthier physical lifestyle but a mentally rewarding one, too.

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