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The Big Answer


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Obesity

an article by our site

The increase in eating disorders in this country is concomitant with another ugly trend: 17 percent of kids and adolescents aged 2 to 19 meet the criteria for being obese. “During the past decade, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has also increased dramatically, accompanied by further emphasis on dieting and weight loss among children and adolescents,” reported Dr. David Rosen. (Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics). Overall, it can be asserted that during the past 20 years, there has been a great increase in obesity in the United States and the rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of kids and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/facts.html)

Bad diet is one of the reasons for obesity
Bad diet is one of the reasons for obesity

Bad diet is one of the reasons for obesity. One quarter of Americans eat fast food daily. Americans spend $100 billion on fast food every year. (Source: http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-american-eating-habits) Food consumption has increased with time. For example, annual per capita consumption of cheese was 4 pounds (1.8 kg) in 1909; 32 pounds (15 kg) in 2000; the average person consumed 389 grams of carbohydrates daily in 1970; 490 in 2000; 41 pounds (19 kg) of fats and oils in 1909; 79 pounds (36 kg) in 2000. In 1977, 18% of an average person's food was consumed outside the home; in 1996, this had risen to 32%. (Source: Smith, Peter (August 2011). "Eat your veggies". Sky (Delta): 52–53)

Another reason for obesity is lack of exercise. And while many are unnecessarily obsessed with their eating habits, children and adolescents in the U.S. are becoming less and less fit. The Chrysler Fund's ten-year Amateur Athletic Union Youth Fitness Study found that the number of children and adolescents with "satisfactory" fitness decreased from 43 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 1990. More than two thirds of the ten million children tested could not meet minimum standards for strength, flexibility and endurance. Even in the 36 percent of U.S. schools that provide daily physical education classes, most classes consist of only competitive sports which leave the less athletically inclined to feel negative about physical activity. (Source: "Everybody's Got a Hungry Heart," and "Time Out For Fitness," Newsweek, May 13, 1991, pp. 58-59, p. 10-11.)

During the past decade, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has increased dramatically
During the past decade, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has increased dramatically

Another study (Harvard-Tufts) found a 54 percent increase in obesity among children ages six to 11 between 1963 and 1980. In the same age group, there was also a 98 percent increase in super-obesity. Among children from 12 to 17 there was a 39 percent increase in obesity and a 64 percent increase in super-obesity during the same period. (Source: Rubin, Nancy, "Baby Fat Or Just Plain Fat," Parents, February, 1988, pp. 100-104) In 2009–2010, 16.9% of U.S. children and adolescents were obese. The prevalence of obesity was higher among adolescents than among preschool-aged children. The prevalence of obesity was higher among boys than girls (18.6% of boys and 15.0% of girls were obese. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db82.htm)

child obesity

Childhood obesity affects about one out of four children in 1988 (but one out of six children in 2010). And associated health problems often follow these children into adulthood, where they are likely to be fat adults the longer they remained heavy as children. In 1986 the President's Council on Physical Fitness also reported that the American child is less fit than in the past. Forty percent of boys between six and 12 could not do more than one pull-up; and in the 50-yard dash, preteen and adolescent girls were significantly slower than they had been in 1975. (Rubin, Nancy, "Baby Fat Or Just Plain Fat," Parents, February, 1988, pp. 100-104) Less than one-half (40%) of the adult population exercise on a regular basis and only one quarter have done so for five or more years (2007). (Source: http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/6299/1/Physical-Fitness-and-Exercise-The-Facts.html)

It was estimated (1985) that there were 32 to 34 million overweight adults in the United States—more than the entire population of Canada—with approximately 11.5 million "severely overweight." Some estimated that one out of five adults in the U.S. were overweight, where others estimated that nearly one third of American adults needed treatment for obesity. In 1985, of all persons in the U.S., 13 percent were 30 percent or more overweight. 1990 estimates counted the overweight at 39 million. (Source: "How Fat Is Too Fat: Getting Slim," U.S. News & World Report, May 14, 1990, pp. 56-7) In 2009–2010, 35.7% of U.S. adults were obese. There was no significant difference in prevalence between men and women at any age. Overall, adults aged 60 and over were more likely to be obese than younger adults. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db82.htm)

adult obesity
Adult obesity

There were almost 25 million large-size women (size 16 and over) in the United States in 1988, but it is worse today. (Source: "Fashionably Large," American Demographics, August, 1988, p. 18) According to a 2008 survey conducted by Mintel, a market-research firm, the most frequently worn size in America is a 14. Government statistics show that 64 percent of American women are overweight (the average woman weighs 164.7 pounds). (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/magazine/01plussize-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools
Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools

Only one in five adult Americans is reasonably active. Among couch potatoes, however, 47 percent believe in the value of exercise and fitness. (Source: National Sporting Goods Association study, American Demographics, February 1990, p. 13)

There is a big gap between what Americans know about health and what they do about it. Prevention Magazine and Louis Harris and Associates surveyed American attitudes toward health and safety. They divided American adults into six groups:

Healthy and Wealthy (1)
Safe and Satisfied (2)
Sedentary but Striving (3)
Young and Restless (4)
Fat and Frustrated (5)
Confused and Indifferent (6)

Most groups believe in healthy living, but none lives up to its beliefs. In Group (2), 62 percent get regular strenuous exercise, yet they don't spend extra money for low-calorie, low-cholesterol, high-fiber foods, and don't go to the dentist regularly. Group (5) is a group of 9 million overweight people who aren't trying to do anything about it. They eat a lot of sugar, salt and fat, yet they don't indulge in alcohol. Those in group (4) don't eat well, but they work out. Those in Group (3) don't exercise much, but have good health maintenance check-ups, and have good home and auto safety (except they are least likely of the groups to own a smoke detector). Those in Group (1) are older, better educated, have higher household incomes; spend extra on things that are good for them, eat well, exercise, have regular medical and dental exams, and are most likely to wear seat belts; AND yet they are the most likely to drink and drive! (Source: Charboneau, F. Jill, "Fit and Fat," American Demographics, June 1990, pp. 11-12)

There has been an increase in obesity-related medical problems, including type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and disability. (Source: Andreyeva, Tatiana; Sturm, Roland; Ringel, Jeanne S (2004), "Moderate and Severe Obesity Have Large Differences in Health Care Costs", Obesity Research 12: 1936–1943) If Americans continue to pack on pounds, obesity will cost us about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, eating up about 21 percent of healthcare spending, according to an article in USA Today. (Source: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2009-11-17-future-obesity-costs_N.htm)