Years ago, it was rare to see an obese adult and almost unheard of to see an obese young person. Don’t believe it? Just watch old movies or television shows. Even in crowd scenes, at sporting events, etc. Americans were almost uniformly of average weight. All that has changed. Americans seemed to be divided into two groups, the overly thin, bordering on eating disorder crowd, imitating their favorite actress, or the overweight, moving in the direction of obese.
It’s truly amazing when you think about it. In just the past 30 years, obesity amongst young people has more than doubled, and the percentage of those who are overweight has sometimes tripled! According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Among young people, the prevalence of overweight increased from 5.0% to 13.9% for those aged 2-5 years, 6.5% to 18.8% for those aged 6-11 years, and 5.0% to 17.4% for those aged 12-19 years.
If the above trend continues, and it will continue unless something is changed, overweight and obesity rates will continue to rise. Concurrently, adult rates will rise as well, especially troubling when you consider the fact that heart disease is already the Number One Killer in America. In addition to Heart Disease, other dangers include:
Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
Type 2 diabetes
Coronary heart disease
Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
It is quite possible that all of the above to be exacerbated by poor diet. Fried foods, fast food, candy and other junk foods are taking Americans on a short road to an early grave.
You may think, “It’s impossible, look how readily available these types of junk food, fast food and candy are available. There’s no way our society and government would allow it. Well, for readers who are a bit older, just think back to cigarettes. They used to have athletes doing commercials saying Lucky Strikes helped them play better. Doctors used to prescribe cigarettes to women for nerves. So it’s possible our society is at that same crossroads where junk food, fast food and candy are concerned.
What can be done? Simply put, there needs to be a change in this country and it start with our nations schoolchildren. There needs to be more emphasis on exercise and nutrition. This means less junk food, less fast food, and more Healthy Solutions. One of the healthy objectives of the CDC is to reduce the prevalence of obesity amongst adults to less than 15%. The problem is the trend is not going in the right direction, as the situation is worsening. Only time will tell whether America can let go of junk food and fast food addiction and embrace Healthy Solutions.