Obesity in America has now reached epic proportions. It’s tragic, but The United States of America is well known for how obese its citizens are. Americans are by far the most obese people in the world.
China has a population roughly four times larger than that of the US and still has less obese people. It just makes the health epidemic in America look even worse. It is not getting better either, which is staggering since data from a report in 2012 shows that one in every three Americans are obese. Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese.
Habits that lead to obesity usually start in a person’s childhood. It can be prevented or controlled simply by eating healthy and staying active.
Unfortunately, childhood obesity in America has also grown at an alarming rate. In the last 30 years, it has gone from a comparatively uncommon ailment to one of the more frequent health problems facing our country’s children. The number of obese children has more than tripled through the last three decades. It has developed into such a problem, that First Lady, Michelle Obama, unveiled a plan to end obesity in childhood in a single generation. Unfortunately, her plan did not pan out as she had hoped. One person cannot change a generation; it starts with the parents.
Only one in three children are physically active every day. Children now spend an average of seven hours a day in front of a TV or computer screen. If change has any hope of occurring, parents must take control and encourage their children to be more physically active.
Analysts have observed that overweight children have an 80% probability of also turning into an overweight adult if one or more of their parents are overweight. While this may seem somewhat high of a number, think about it. How often is an overweight child accompanied by slim and fit parents? Not many. This can lead to a never ending generation of obese people in the US, which in turn has an economic impact on all of us.
Medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008, these costs totaled about $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year. Researchers predict that the cost of obesity in the U.S. is likely to reach $344 billion by 2018. This is an absurd amount for something that can be controlled.
Money is not the only issue at hand. Obesity in America is mostly a by-product of not living a healthy lifestyle. This includes an unhealthy diet, overeating and lack of physical activity.
Another disturbing realization is that people who are healthy and fit are gradually becoming a minority. Most overweight Americans view themselves as just another average person. They see that an obese lifestyle is the norm for most of their peers, so what’s the big deal by being a bit overweight? Yet, if most Americans were fit, an overweight person would feel indifferent and most likely want to fit in with the crowd. This might well be the encouragement needed to start making changes.
Solving the overweight problem in America is actually twofold. First, adults need to step up to the plate and take inventory of their own lifestyle. Most will realize it isn’t the healthiest that it could be. It’s time to take control.
This control is also required if one is expected to pass these new healthy habits onto their children. It’s rare that healthy behavioral habits by children can be attained with a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Parents must set the example. Children emulate their parents, therefore it’s imperative to guide them down a healthy path. It’s a win-win for both parties involved.