Instructor: Tracey Wallace-Hodelin
By: Nathalie Segrera
Have you ever traveled in the United States from the east coast to the west coast? Nowadays it’s more cost affective to book flights that have one to two stops in between your desired destination. I recently traveled from Miami to Los Angeles and made one stop in Dallas, Texas and one in Chicago, Illinois. Its obvious that we are a country founded by immigrants and while your sitting in an airport waiting to board your plane you tend to see all types of different race and ethnicity walking by. Depending on what airport and part of the country you’re in you will see a dominance of a certain race in the airport staff or actual customers. For example, at the Miami airport, it seems to be dominated by Cuban Americans.
Now this observation is obvious to anyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see. But what was shocking to me is, even though they are all different types of people they all had something in common, obesity! Not only are the adults obese, but the child or children accompanying the parents as well. From the looks of it, they are following in their parents’ footsteps, unhealthy eating habits. Obesity is everywhere, from the east to the west of the United States of America. I hadn’t realized how this issue has, for many years, impacted the population in America until I did my research on obesity and recall my observing experience while sitting in different airports across the country. Obesity is on the rise in America and in my opinion, the possibility of it dropping, well not very likely. Americans are not getting enough exercise and consuming unhealthy food. Food that is high in calories and low in nutrients. The American way of life is and always has been a fast pace, quick and easy, convenient, all you can eat, why wait, take this pill, 6 minute abs, one stop shop mentality.
Obesity is responsible for many diseases and posses a serious threat for Americans because in many cases it is life threatening! Not only is it life threatening, it is also a huge financial burden. About 2.2 trillions dollars are used annually, for medical expenses. The good news is that obesity can be avoided and is not like cancer where there is no cure; it’s simply avoided by making the choice of maintaining a healthy life style. Sounds simple enough? Yeah right! Easier said than done. With fast food restaurants available everywhere and the sales of chemically enhanced goods on supermarket shelves, this makes a healthy life style difficult to obtain and expensive to maintain. Lets be honest here, when your hungry fast food is hard to avoid and organic (chemical free) goods are expensive.
The obesity epidemic continues to grow, especially in children. Big influences on our food choices are the food advertisements that surround us. Most often, targeting children for high-calorie, high fat snacks and sugary drinks. In comparison, from 1974 to 2009, the obesity rate in children went up 5 times higher. As of now, 23.9 million children from the ages of 2 to 19 are overweight, which is 33% of boys and 30.4% of girls. Meaning that nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, the obesity epidemic is most common among children of low-income status.
Just as this epidemic has been an outbreak among the American children, American adults are also part of this disease. Among adults aging 20 years or older, 154.7 million are overweight. Out of this number, 79.9 million are males and 74.8 million are females. Of these, 78.4 million are obese with a 30.0 kg/m2 of BMI. BMI stands for body mass index, which is the measurement system to measure obesity and correlates with the amount of body fat. It does not calculate the percentage of an individual’s body fat but it is a helpful tool to estimate a healthy body weight. If an adults’ BMI is between 25 to 29.9 they are considered overweight and if