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Over 50% of Americans are overweight. It is even estimated over 75% will be by 2015 Why is this?

I saw an article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1557923/Obese-America-75pc-overweight-by-2015.html) on an English news website and it got me thinking.

I have often though its due to the large amount of fast food restaurants.

Any thoughts of why its such a problem?

EDIT (Hanhart) : I am taking the liberty to add a note : The article talks about adults. So the numbers are about adults, not about the entire population of the States. :) - Right you are, in children its more around the 20% mark.

asked Dec 01 '10 at 09:28

Mattophobia's gravatar image

Mattophobia ♦♦

edited Dec 01 '10 at 10:11

While the presence of fast food restaurants creates a hostile environment for Americans trying to lose weight, fast food is only a contributor to the problem, not the sole cause.

For an interesting comparison, read about Paris, France. They have a slow trend going towards more fat people in their population than ever before, but Paris isn't overrun with fast food. Women have used smoking to curb their appetite for years, but of course, they are now realizing how costly cigarette smoking is to their health, and we're about to see a new generation of Parisians emerge that find smoking both disgusting and something for the uneducated masses.

The weight gain and the fattening of America have much to do with a lifestyle that combines the following:

Poor eating habits, starting from an early age (fatty, salty, sweet foods high in calories but often low in nutrition). A change in what is considered "good" food (including fillers, corn, and low fiber carbs). Eating many more calories than your body burns each day. Sedentary lifestyle and infrequent activity. School, home, and work environments that encourage (or do not limit) the above. Socialization (i.e. do as your parents and peers do, so if they are heavy, you likely will too). The glamorization of excess (partying, eating, drinking, smoking, without showing you the other side of the equation).

There is a very small percentage of those who are heavy because of a medical condition or genetic condition. Those numbers do not explain the overall fattening of the American population. I believe the above points better explain what we're seeing.

Both Chris in his 50 Weight Loss Tips list and my eBook Video Nurse: 50 Weight Loss Tips for Busy People stress the fact that people must learn better choices in eating and activity if they wish to stay within a healthy weight for their body frame and level of activity. The science of weight loss is based on a simple equation: eat less calories than you burn per day (and about 400-500 less per day if you want to see those numbers fall by at least 2 pounds a week), and move your body to burn more calories and turn your body into a "machine" that metabolizes food into fuel more efficiently. The execution of that equation, however, is very difficult for those who never learned how to do those things, as opposed to someone who was taught at an early age that eating a sugary donut for breakfast, for example, will throw your blood sugar off all day, causing you to feel hungry quickly, and to eat up to double the amount of calories to compensate for the blood sugar drop you experience afterwards.

I'm about to post another article about weight loss on Lockergnome health in relationship to some "new" changes in the weight loss world (nothing earth shattering, but important no less). All in all, if you actually understand what you're eating, you can start making choices that move you away from the fattening trend in America that has the healthcare system worried, including stats like one of every three Americans developing Type II Diabetes related to obesity by 2020.

Ridding the world of fast food won't change the obesity trend. One could make a point that you can eat fast food in moderation and not get fat (i.e. burn it off with cardio exercise, eat light the rest of the day you ate fast food, count calories, etc). Teaching people how to eat and building in exercise and movement as a lifestyle from an early age will go further to curb the obesity trend.

BTW, some of you may have seen me "go after" and support the ban on the McDonald's Happy Meal toy in San Francisco. When it comes to children, I don't like the marketing ploy used that rewards children with toys for eating unhealthy food high in fat, sodium, and sugar. But I'd applaud any food industry that makes healthy meals for kids, so if McD's can do that, by all means, give the kid a toy!

answered Dec 01 '10 at 11:33

VideoNurse's gravatar image


This is making me think about one of Palin's recent actions.

Sarah Palin Stews Over Government Food Rules

Palin sees them as government intrusion into the family pantry, putting her into a collison course with Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity

Sarah Palin has found a new way to channel the Tea Party movement's anti-big-government fervor—and tweak First Lady Michelle Obama at the same time. On Nov. 9, she showed up at a Pennsylvania school bearing dozens of cookies, a gesture intended to show her disapproval of a state proposal to limit the sweets served in public schools. "Who should be making the decisions what you eat and school choice and everything else?" Palin asked the students, in a clear swipe at the First Lady's campaign to end childhood obesity. "Should it be government or should it be the parents?"

Food is about to become the next battle ground for, well, a whole menu of Washington favorites. There's big government, big business, and the diets of little children. Palin's school showdown happens to coincide with the recurring battle over the federal government's dietary guidelines, which the Health and Human Services Dept. and the U.S. Agriculture Dept. may release as early as January. The guidelines will form the basis for the next version of the familiar food pyramid, which will influence what's served in school cafeterias, what doctors tell their patients, and the nutritional advice given to recipients of food stamps.

This summer, recommendations by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, composed largely of academic scientists, set off a round of complaints from the food industry. The Salt Institute, for example, said that proposed advice to consumers to eat less sodium would induce Americans to eat even more food to satisfy their salt cravings. Beverage makers said that a proposed warning to Americans to reduce their consumption of sugary drinks overstated their role in the obesity epidemic.

The federal government has been issuing nutritional advice for more than a century and has been generating controversy almost since then. The guidelines are revised every five years and the last set, issued under President George W. Bush in 2005, ignited many objections from the food industry and others. Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, says the result was a pyramid that was so watered down it was "useless." The next iteration looks to be as much of a struggle, says Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Businesses depend on selling a lot of unhealthy foods."

Once the guidelines are hammered out and the food pyramid is built—shapes other than the traditional pyramid are being considered, including a plate of food, say two advisers to the guideline-writing effort—Michelle Obama will help promote it. When her "Let's Move!" nutrition campaign was launched nine months ago, the food industry initially cooperated. Beverage companies agreed to display calorie information on the front of products and the largest providers of food to schools pledged to double the amount of fruit and vegetables in their meals within 10 years. But recently the companies have resisted further steps, for example by not reducing the volume of fast-food advertising to kids.

So far, Palin and Obama have not openly clashed, but as the food guideline fight gears up, the political tension is sure to escalate. Obama's nutrition efforts "really irritate small government conservatives," says Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. "The Tea Party's message," he says, is "back off, people should be able to make mistakes even if it involves gorging themselves on too many nachos."

Or, as Palin put it in a post to her 300,000 Twitter followers before her school trip: "I'll intro kids 2 beauty of laissez-faire via serving them cookies amidst school cookie ban debate; Nanny state run amok!"

The bottom line: Sarah Palin appears to be siding with food companies, and against Michelle Obama, over government nutrition policy.

Source : http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_48/b4205044187091.htm

answered Dec 01 '10 at 10:02

Hanhart's gravatar image


In my opinion, it is cheaper to eat un-healthy. With a lot of people struggling for jobs and decent cash flow in the U.S., places like McDonald's are doing well. Think of it this way: if you are strapped for cash and need to eat. Are you going to spend $1.00 on a double cheeseburger or $5.00 on a salad? Be honest, majority of the population would get the cheeseburger. When 5 double cheeseburgers equal 1 salad, it is hard to eat healthy. This is why I think we are overweight. It's not that people don't want to eat healthy, it just costs more. Visit the grocery and compare prices of regular food to low-calorie or fat-free. The healthy food is usually 25% higher. Hope this helps. Like I said, this is just my opinion. I'm not an expert.

answered Dec 01 '10 at 09:54

Steven%20Hibbs's gravatar image

Steven Hibbs

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Asked: Dec 01 '10 at 09:28

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Last updated: Dec 01 '10 at 11:33