Obesity Pandemic in the USA
Obesity happens when you eat too much even if you're not planning to workout afterward. Consuming food with high amounts of sugars and fat cannot be burned without doing physical activities such as exercise. That's why you have to be careful of what you eat if you don't have an active lifestyle.
It's not just a cosmetic concern but it's a medical problem. Obesity is considered a complex disease that involves excessive amounts of body fat. This will result in an increased risk of developing health issues and diseases. The obesity pandemic is increasing especially in the US. They should be alarmed and start dealing with this issue.
How Much of America is Overweight?
In the US, there are about one-third of the adult population is obese. That's 36.5 percent of adults while 32.5 percent are overweight. Children in the US are not exempted from obesity either. 17 percent of children are suffering from obesity.
Obesity in the US may be caused by different factors and also by their diverse lifestyles. Although most of them are aware of the bad impact of obesity on their health. Many Americans continue with their poor eating habits. Not to mention, lack of physical activities and exercise.
Why are Americans Obese?
1. Bigger Portions
You will know right away when you are already in the US when you see the difference in their food portions. They always like to go big or large in every meal. That causes them to overeat and consume too many calories more than their body needs. Fatty and sugary foods are also included in these big portioned meals.
Another reason why bigger portions are making Americans obese is because of the fast-food industry. They mostly serve fatty and unhealthy meals and you even have an option to get a bigger version. Consuming too much energy more than the recommended amount is not good for anyone and it will end up turning into fats.
2. Confusing "Diet" for "Nutrition"
Many Americans are confusing diet for nutrition since diet refers to the food that a person consumes daily. Although, they are not the only ones who think that way since people in other countries may also think the same thing.
However, nutrition involves more than just simply eating and a good diet. It's about nourishing your body at every level. That involves exercise and other activities at the same time as having a good diet. Food choices can also play a big factor in why many are suffering from obesity.
3. Inactivity is the New Normal
Gone were the days where you can see many people exercising in the US. Many are just staying at home and avoiding physical activities. The current situation also contributes to their inactivity. The pandemic has become an excuse to stop living a healthy lifestyle.
Health Risks Associated with Obesity
1. Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes
Obesity can cause the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It's a condition when your blood sugar level is higher than normal. It can lead to different health issues such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, kidney disease, and more.
Prediabetes is also a serious condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Although it's yet classified as type 2, it can lead to it over time. This can be caused by obesity so it's best to lose some pounds to avoid it escalating.
This condition can be caused by lifestyle, genetics, drugs, or other conditions such as obesity. It's a high level of lipids such as cholesterol, triglycerides, or even both. It can also be a low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level.
Typical dyslipidemia that has been observed in obesity is considered multifactorial. It's associated with obesity and it plays a major role in developing atherosclerosis. The components of this condition are higher triglycerides and decreased HDL levels. It also involves increased small dense LDL particles.
3. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
People who have obesity are more prone to developing coronary artery disease. They require them more oxygen for the blood and the nutrients in their bodies can cause an increase in their blood pressure.
High blood pressure can also cause heart attack and it's more prevalent in obese individuals. The fatty deposits can accumulate over time and can cause high blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides.
4. Sleep Apnea
It's a sleeping disorder where a person can momentarily stop breathing while asleep. People who suffer from obesity have a higher risk of having sleep apnea. The fats are stored around their necks which makes the airway too narrow.
Having a smaller airway will result in difficulty in breathing and snoring. It's best to avoid the obesity pandemic and start to lose weight. It can decrease the amount of fat around the neck and avoid suffering from this condition.
5. Cognitive Dysfunction
Obesity is also associated with many negative effects on cognitive functions. It can result in reduced memory, executive function, and can increase impulsivity. Being overweight can negatively affect your cognitive performance.
It can affect your reasoning as well as the visuospatial speed of processing. Obesity can affect the central nervous system. Other cognitive functions such as attention, decision making, and even verbal learning can be affected.
6. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Even if you don't drink alcohol, obesity can cause you to develop fatty liver disease. It's also known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. It can happen once excessive fats build up in your liver.
Cirrhosis is caused by excess fat that damages the liver or results in scar tissue growing. It may not show any symptoms but it can cause liver failure. The best way to avoid this is to lose weight and eat healthily.
Cancer is also associated with obesity but it's not a single disease. This can increase the risk of developing certain cancers. It includes breast, colon, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
Obesity can also cause cancer of the uterus, endometrium, ovaries, and cervical cancer. Based on studies, there are about 28,000 cases of cancer in men and 72,000 in women. They are all associated with obesity.
8. Health Risks of Obesity in Children and Adolescents
Obesity in children and adolescents can pose many health risks. It can affect their health for a long time if not addressed properly. Below are the different health risks of obesity.
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol
- Liver disease
- Bone and joint problems
- Respiratory problems such as asthma
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
- Early puberty or menstruation
- Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia
- Skin infections due to moisture from sweat trapped in skin folds
How Did the Epidemic Arise?
The obesity pandemic happened and spread rapidly across all states as early as the 1900s. The most common reasons are certain food marketing practices and reduction in physical activities. The proposed solution for the obesity pandemic is to emphasize food and exercise. It can help the individual cases but it still depends on the person.
How Much and What Type of Behavior Change is Required?
It may take a lot of promotion and self-discipline to solve the obesity pandemic. The World Health Organization suggests different ways to get out of this problem.
- Promote healthy eating habits and encourage people to exercise.
- Develop public policies to promote better access to healthy, high-fiber, and low-fat foods.
- Train healthcare professionals to support people to lose weight.
Strategies for Getting Out of the Obesity Epidemic
There are different strategies that everyone can do to get out of the obesity epidemic. You can lose weight or avoid becoming overweight or obese. Try to be more active, eat less, and do whatever you can to maintain a healthy weight.
Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts for your diet. Avoid consuming fatty and sugary foods. You can also use vegetable oils instead of oils made from animal fats. Exercise regularly and keep a healthy and active lifestyle.
1. What is the healthiest place to live in the US?
The healthiest place to live in the US is in Miami, Florida. 80% of the population are working out at least once a week in this city. It has a lot of gyms and SPAs around the area which means that the residents are concerned about their wellness.
2. What age group is the most obese in America?
Ages between 45 to 74 are the most obese age group in America. While the lowest is from ages 18 to 24. Obesity seems to also lower with the older age group from 75 and above. It may probably be because of the food choices and lifestyle differences among the adults.
The obesity pandemic in the US is continuously increasing. Although some individuals are trying their best to stay in shape. The usual reason why people only maintain their weight is because of aesthetics. It's about time to educate more people about the health concerns that obesity can cause. That way, people might pay more attention and take the obesity pandemic more seriously.