July 29, 2013
In the past 30 years, obesity rates in America have skyrocketed. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) most current figures show that over one third of America is Obese and another third is overweight. What many fail to realize is that obesity affects society as a whole. Obesity causes many other health defects as well. With rates of obesity forecast to continue to rise, we as a unified people must do something to address this issue. The Progression of Obesity in America
Walking down any street, in any town, of any state, in the United States of America, you can expect to see one common attribute present in the local populace: obesity. Current figures reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that over one third of the population of the United States is currently obese. There are roughly 300 million people living in the United States. This means that over 100 million people living in the United States today are obese.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the obesity epidemic in America. What we know for certain is that obesity rates in America have been climbing for at least 30 years. What is worse is that the trend is presenting no indication of slowing down. Many reports will point causal factors such as the ballooning fast-food industry, and increased production and distribution of processed foods. Aside from these reasons, you will find the rare report showing that people themselves are the ones at fault. However, as previously stated, these types of reports are rare. The truth lies in a place where all of these factors converge.
Obesity has become such a problem in America, that the American Medical Association (AMA) has declared it a non-communicable disease. According to the AMA, those who are obese can expect to face other ailments in life as well. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure are just a few of the potential medical issues that those who are obese are at risk of developing. (AMA, 2013, p. 1)
What many fail to realize is that obesity affects everyone in America. Obesity drives up the cost of insurance and limits the productivity of the country. This, together with the skyrocketing rates of obesity in children, means America could soon be headed for a crisis. The most inconvenient truth of the matter is that obesity is nearly 100% preventable.
To understand this problem, it helps to know its origins. In the last 40 years, obesity rates in America have more than doubled. One may ask what happened four decades ago to prompt such a drastic increase. One of the many cultural changes that occurred in the 1970’s was the increased number of women in the workforce. Up until this point, most homes were very traditional; meaning the husband worked and the wife stayed home and took care of the family. (Network, 2012, p. 1)
By the year 1978, the American workforce was, for the first time in its history, comprised of equal numbers of women and men. Coincidentally, the very first happy meal was sold in 1979. Other trends were occurring in the 70’s that also contributed to today’s obesity epedemic. In 1972 Home Broadcast Network (HBO) was launched, followed by the first Video Cassette Recorder in 1975. While none of these events are directly responsible for increasing the prevalence of obesity, they did lay the foundation for the sedentary life style and poor eating habits that are partly responsible. (Tobey, 2008, p. 1) During the 1980’s and 90’s, we began to see the proliferation of these concepts. Healthy eating habits continued to decline, as did their education. By the end of the 80’s, reports of the decline in health education had reached Congress. In 1987, Congress urged state and local governments to put together physical education programs for children of all grades. In another attempt to curb the advance of obesity, Congress passed new laws