Obesity in America – An Overview
According to recent research conducted in the United States of America, half of the American population will be obese by 2030! In research conducted by Harvard and George Washington universities, the height and weight of 6.2 million people were checked.
According to the results of this research, if eating habits in the United States continue to stay the way they are at present, half of the adult population will be obese by 2030. Obesity in America is no joke and needs to be taken as seriously as humanly possible.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of the adult population in the United States is obese. Dr. Laurence Apple, a nutrition expert from Johns Hopkins University, reviewing the results of this research, believes this is an alarming situation. The increase in the rate of obesity in America is causing huge problems in the medical and financial sectors.
Significance of the Problem
Americans are surrounded by a flood of advertisements for fatty and sugary foods and snacks. It is no secret that Americans have been getting heavier and heavier every day during the last few decades. The signs of obesity in America as a serious problem are evident almost everywhere in the country, from 3X large clothes to super wide chairs to even bulkier coffins!
According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American men are currently 177 cm tall and weigh 88.8 kg on average; which is about 7 kg more than 20 years ago. In the case of women, these changes have been even more significant: the average height of American women today is 161.5 cm and their weight is 76.5 kg; which used to be about 69 kg in 1994.
The latest CDC estimates show that at least 40 percent of American adults and 19 percent of children and adolescents in the country are obese.
The above data is the result of the NHANES center surveys and is a combination of interviews and physical measurements in which gold standard measure is observed. Since the 1980s - at the same time as the rate of obesity in America started to soar - the aforementioned center has charted the rate of obesity in the country.
Along with the increase in obesity, we are witnessing an increasing rate of chronic diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Causes of Obesity in America
Certainly, weight gain has become easier and easier nowadays, and it has become more and more difficult to prevent it.
What is the cause of obesity in America? The simple answer is clear: eating more calories than one is burning. But what public health experts agree on is that overeating is most of the time not a completely conscious choice for the American public.
Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness and a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University believes that the nutritional environment is a strong determinant of how we eat. And in America, the unhealthiest foods are the tastiest, cheapest, most high-protein, most readily available, and most appetizing foods.
Americans Are Fond of Eating Out
Every day, Americans are moving further and further away from cooking and leaning more toward eating out. This makes you eat more than you would if you were at home.
Now, more than half of the money Americans spend on buying food is spent in restaurants and especially on fast food. In 2015, Americans spent even more on eating out than they spent on groceries.
Of course, you can eat light and healthy food in restaurants as well. But researchers have found out that people typically consume 20-40% more calories in restaurants than they do at home.
To understand why this is the case, we need to pay attention to the data published in one of the studies published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Researchers analyzed the nutritional value of more than 360 types of dinners served at 123 non-chain restaurants in San Francisco, Boston, and Little Rock. These meals contained an average of 1,200 calories, and we know that the recommended number of calories for a man or woman with moderate activity throughout the day is 2,000 to 2,500 calories.
Portions Have Become Much Larger
Another factor that is the main driver of the increase in the rate of obesity in America is that when Americans eat out, they don't eat small dishes. According to the CDC, the volume of restaurant meals today is more than four times what it was in the 1950s. These super big portions increase the total daily calories we consume.
America Has No Rival in Sugary Drinks
Research has shown that those who drink sugary drinks are more likely to develop obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and other health problems. Americans have gone to extremes in drinking these soft drinks. According to the latest Euromonitor data, America is still the leader in the per capita sales of non-alcoholic beverages.
Based on the research conducted by Euromonitor on the sales of soft drinks in the United States, although the sales of carbonated soft drinks have been limited, the sales of fruit juices have remained steady, and the sales of energy and sports drinks have actually increased.
Healthier Foods Are More Expensive
The federal government recommends one to two servings of fruit and two to three servings of vegetables per day. According to the CDC, Americans in every state rarely meet these minimum amounts. less than 10% of American adults consume enough vegetables and less than 15% consume the recommended amount of fruit.
It is important to know that Americans who don't eat broccoli usually have nothing against it.
Rather, there are economic and social issues that have made it really difficult to eat enough fruit and vegetables to help prevent obesity in America.
The price of food per calorie from sugar, vegetable oils, and refined grains is cheaper than the price of calories from vegetables and fruits. In the long run, nutrients in foods (such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals) become more important than empty calories in terms of health.
But if your family income is low, you probably prefer to continue using cheaper and more high-calorie foods.
Final Word on Obesity in America
Americans are surrounded by tons of junk food commercials and advertisements. Fatty and sugary foods are prepared in such a way that they are often consumed in large quantities. A report published by the Institute of Medicine proves that the increase in the rates of obesity in America among children has been paralleled by the increase in advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks and that certain measures need to be taken to help battle this widespread problem.