The Dangers of the Obesity Epidemic Affects Us All

This type of figure poolside is becoming the norm, yet it is an indication of obesity.
This type of figure poolside is becoming the norm, yet it is an indication of obesity. | Source
Eating healthier foods to slow the obesity epidemic.
Eating healthier foods to slow the obesity epidemic. | Source
Eating in correct proportions can help stave off weight gain. The new food plate replaces the food pyramid for the healthy diet.
Eating in correct proportions can help stave off weight gain. The new food plate replaces the food pyramid for the healthy diet. | Source

Measure your movement; use a fitness tracker.

The Obesity Epidemic

Unless you live in some remote jungle, you are well aware that there is a dangerous upward trend in the number of Americans who are medically reported as obese. If the trend continues, over 40% of the American population will be obese by the year 2030. While in 2012, reports began to show that Americans may have slowed the rush towards a dangerous obesity epidemic that rivals any other type of epidemic in its intrinsic dangers, and although the figures show a slow down from the 1980s and 1990s, the figures are still huge, figuratively and literally. This is still a dangerous Obesity Epidemic looming and it affects us all.

A recent report has shown that obesity is affecting the longevity rates of all Americans, although there are differences by areas of the country. Some areas, in fact compare, to countries in other parts of the world and in some cases, America comes out the loser.

Even more alarming, this is an epidemic that is also affecting children at rates never seen before. What's worse, true obesity is showing up in children at even younger ages, with horrific health repercussions. Younger and younger children are presenting with Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness, heart conditions, amputations and more, all diseases and problems that were once associated primarily with the elderly.

The Journal of Pediatric Research states that "socioeconomic factors and related lifestyles are critical to understanding the spread of overweight and obesity. These factors increase exposure to conditions that are negatively related to health, such as smoking, depression, and cultural influences connected to low physical activity."

The numbers look even worse when you break out the obesity statistics by different American cultures and ethnicity. African Americans have been at high percentages for some time, with 60% of the males and 78% of the women falling in the overweight category. Latinos are reporting high numbers as well, with 31% of the current population overweight.

In fact, all Americans, young and old, are now caught in some way in the effects of the obesity epidemic. Americans face face growing cases of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and resulting heart disease. The repercussions that affect us all are the links between poor health and obesity, mainly early death and the skyrocketing cost of healthcare are consequences of this epidemic.

The very sad fact is that even though the obesity epidemic can be stopped and reversed, it seems that, at this moment, not enough people seem willing to make the major change in the way we think about and consume food or in our life style, nor are we making the headway needed to teach our children how to view food or to change their sedentary life style. In fact, schools are not helping as they cut physical education programs and classes, often the only source of exercise for some children. If this continues, today's child will be tomorrow's obese adult.

Children no longer routinely play outdoors.
Children no longer routinely play outdoors. | Source

Dance is great exercise

Good News/Bad News about the Obesity Trend

It has been shown that immigrants from cultures without an overall obesity problem often become obese as they adopt some of the unhealthy habits exhibited by Americans. This further points to a health problem that can be reversed and changed. That runaway train can be stopped altogether.

There is a good news/bad news scenario with the same root cause. The good news is that food is not the only contributor to the obesity epidemic. The bad news is that food is not the only contributor to the Obesity Epidemic. What that means is that the cure is not one dimensional. It does not rest solely with a change in diet, although a change in your weight is unlikely if there's not a change in diet. Other factors also play a major role.

What You Can Do to Avoid Obesity and the Dangers Associated with It

Here are a few changes that you can make in order to help avoid becoming obese and to even decrease your weight:

1. Take a really good look at what you eat. What do you like and eat the most of? Where do these foods fit on the food chart? If most of what you eat is shown in much smaller portions on the chart, then you need to move away from those marginal food and move to eating those foods that everyone should be eating plenty of. Foods like whole grain and vegetables should start dominating your diet. Foods that are loaded with sugar should start to shrink to nearly nothing. You should also manage your portions. It all becomes about a change in habits and not about focusing on some fad diet.

2. Practice calmness either through deep breathing or meditation or just relaxing during those times you feel most stressed rather than reaching for the chips or some other snack. Most Americans, including children, spend an inordinate amount of time stressed because of the multitude of demands faced everyday. Stress adds pounds, especially around the middle. Practice slowing down, purposefully. Don't automatically head to the fridge.

3. Lead an active life. You have heard it so many times before: "Get off that couch; get your kids off that couch." Look at is this way, the stars in those shows you're spending your couch time watching have made their money and, to add insult to injury, very few of them are obese. And the developers of those video games the kids are attached to have made their money already. Being a passive player in life is just not healthy!

4. Get proper amounts of sleep. Inadequate sleep can contribute to weight gain. If you have difficulty falling asleep, adopt some sleep inducing habits around bedtime. For example, bedtime is not the time squeezein your energetic weight lifting routine, instead read a book until you start to doze off.

5. If you don't already, start taking supplements. With the questionable eating habits most Americans have now adopted, we are bound to be missing many of the nutrients we need everyday for optimum health. Even when we are eating correctly, getting all you need can be a challenge. Supplements and nutritional drinks are an easy fix.

Consult your healthcare professional for assistance with any of these suggestions, especially when you add an exercise routine to your day. Most doctors and health care professionals are encouraging their patients to practice preventative health in hopes that they won't have to take care of preventable ills like heart problems and diabetes II. You don't have to take care of this problem alone if you are on that train ride to obesity.

While statics show there is slowing of the obesity epidemic, ultimately, to stop this runaway train and conquer this Obesity Epidemic, we must all take part in the cure. In fact, this is one epidemic we can't depend on the scientists and doctors in some isolated lab to solve with a vaccine or a pill any time soon. The solution to the Obesity Epidemic actually resides with us. Our future, our children's future and our health depend on the steps we take to educate ourselves about overeating versus healthy eating and about increasing the amount of movement and exercise we create each day.

All rights reserved. Cynthia Turner 2012

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Comments 38 comments

writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

It's so hard for people to start losing because you can't see the lost for some time and being really heavy it takes a lot of enery to do exercise or just walk a round. I know this because I have a sister-in-law with this problem.

Voted up useful and interesting

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

No, it is not easy. I listed all of those suggestions to help change the mindset we all have about food and exercise and our overall lifestyles. It doesn't take many pounds over the suggested weight to be overweight. For instance, if you are 5'1" and weigh 135 lbs. you are overweight. None of it is easy and a lot of people will require a lot more than just the tips I have given, but they can be a start for some. Thank you so much for reading and voting up. I'm happy that you found it useful.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

What a good share and its so sad.. I was eating at Wendy's and sitting across from me was a family of four.. the youngest being around five.. they were all disgusting fat putting away meals like it was the last day on Earth.. I felt bad because it has to be the parents fault.. right? the smallest child had a bigger meal than me with a half gallon soda.. in those big Gulp type cups.. damn

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Frank, Always good to hear from you!

I know. The scenario plays out over and over. In addition to being so gluttonous and hard to watch, just think of how much that one meal costs that family of four every time they eat like that...

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

You're right I didn't figure in the cost of the meals for that family bless you for writing this..

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great information Cyndi - It's interesting how this epidemic has spread worldwide, even a time when physical fitness and going to the gym is popular. My personal opinion is that now that almost every mom works, preparing quick healthy meals is not as much a priority. Couple that with the fast food business plague and obesity becomes epidemic. Public awareness through advertising and even children's programming could help. Rated up!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Your hub is interesting and well-presented. Clear enough for all to "get the message!"

Obesity percentages are staggering, no matter how they're, then or future possibilities.

The reasons should be chrystal clear to anyone with common sense.....after that, it's a matter of personal choice, motivation and lifestyle RECONSTRUCTION. It's never easy, but always worthwhile.

Often, it's as simple as people remaiing in denial until they have a good SCARE of some kind. Sadly, sometimes, it is then, too late. UP+++

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Can get pretty steep! Hopefully, more people will recognize that it's a problem.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It is something how it has spread worldwide. Hopefully, the cure will go worldwide as well. It may have a lot to do with busy moms, but I think you're right about the public information being one of the keys to help. Thank you so much for your comments!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello fpherj48, sometimes even a scare doesn't change a bad habit, but that is often what it takes. Hopefully a full blown public campaign will make some difference. Thank you so much for commenting and for your approval of my article. I appreciate it.

rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

Interesting and alarming! Obesity is a very dreadful condition and must be taken care off!

You have spoken for a very important issue and given veeru useful advice

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Rahul, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, the problem is not going away until people make some changes in their diets and lifestyles.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

It would be so good if it is beginning to level out. Your hub is both interesting and informative, I hope lots of people read it and it helps to improve their quality of life.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello, It would be so good for people to learn more about what inactivity and eating all the wrong foods can do. We need to move more and eat less. Thanks so much for reading.

writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

According to NY Mayor is trying to get to the 40oz drinks to smaller drinks. Because obesity is costing millions dollars.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

A lot of health care costs can be traced to obesity related illnesses. Thanks for leaving the comment.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I hope what you're saying about the obesity train slowing down is true. Because so far, that doesn't seem to be what I observe. I got off the train awhile back and am trying to stay healthy by exercising and eating right. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Alocsin, The latest stats showed a slow down in the obesity rate, but it's still too high. A lot more people should try just a bit harder to stay healthy, like you have. Thanks for voting and leaving a comment.

Rsharde profile image

Rsharde 4 years ago from Santa Monica

I'm sorry but it actually is easy. And the starting part is actually the easiest and most noticeable. Our bodies don't want to be fat. It's not natural. We, like all animals, are made for activity and have bodies able to handle that activity. When a large person first starts working out, they will notice a change in their body within two weeks. I've seen it more often than not. They see it in the fit of their clothes immediately. And when you get that first feeling of weight loss, you want it to continue. I don't buy in to the psychological crap at all. The people on the Biggest Loser don't get psychological help for their weight loss, despite what those clowns training them say. They start losing because somebody is making them work their tails off for a change! I'm sorry but I get pissed when it comes to obesity because we as humans are not supposed to ever be obese. We're not made that way.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

In many ways, I think you're right, but there are many of us who do need that extra help with losing and then maintaining that loss. It's so much easier to reach for the donuts than to say no. There is some psychology involved. Our minds need to be in control and telling us to eat right and to exercise. But we need to control that thought process and what we say in regards to weight loss and healthy actions and eating. Thanks so much for your insights. They are powerful.

Virtual Treasures profile image

Virtual Treasures 4 years ago from Michigan

Voted up and awesome. This is a great hub and a sad state of affairs. While people in other countries struggle to find enough food to eat, Americans knowingly continue to make poor nutrition choices from the abundance of food available.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Too often true. Unfortunately a lot of other countries are finding their weights increasing as well. Hopefully, everyone will start to take obesity seriously and make changes. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to vote up. I appreciate it.

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Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Cyndi

Great hub. There is no magic pill or easy fix for weight loss.

Voted up and awesome.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Sue, Scientists continue to look for that magic pill, but I think even if there was one, exercise and healthy eating is crucial to overall good health. Thank you for the votes! I really appreciate your comment.

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Giselle Maine 4 years ago

You have taken a great approach with your article - pointing out that stopping the obesity epidemic is up to us - each individual! This article is a great reminder of what we should all be doing for ourselves and our kids.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

@Giselle, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment about a very real problem facing us. If left unchecked the results will adversely affect nearly an entire generation.

Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hi Cyndi - I just had to return the compliment and pitch up here after your comment on my 'eat less' hub. It would seem we are both singing from the same hymn sheet here.

I am a foodie, I am getting on for 64 and yes, I am a little overweight but not, technically, I hope, obese. I know I need to eat less and move more ... I know it is that simple. But until the last 3 years I was always a very healthy size 10/12 (UK sizes), I ran or walked everywhere and was very fit.

What amazes me is the number of young people are so immensely fat now ... parts of them wobble when they walk. How can they bear to be so heavy and so slow. The worst part of it is that instead of being the occasional person who is overweight there are now more of them than slim people .

The obvious problem here in the UK is that our free health service will become so overburdened by the health problems incurred by obese people that the funds for other health problems - ones not self-induced by gluttony - will be limited or even non-existent.

Perhaps the answer is some sort of tax on unhealthy foods to cover the burgeoning costs of health care for the terminally greedy?

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

You are so right. There are so many more overweight people now. The healthcare in the US is headed the same way with a huge burden because of the diseases that follow obesity. Some of the US cities are considering bans on things like very large sodas. Thankfully, they're slowly taking the unhealthy foods out of the schools.

Unfortunately, some people are also "food pushers" when it comes to their children and will equate eating or feeding them with how much love they are showing them. It's a real problem that needs to be effectively addressed somehow.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

If you've never been over weight you do not realize how hard it is to lose weight. It's like anything else stop using drugs, stop smoking, stop gambling and so on. Addictions are not easy and being over weight is an addictions. Women have even more trouble losing weight than men do. I know women who are very thin and I know exactly how many of them stay that way.

We are teaching our kids to be bulimic or anorexic just by telling them their fat, sending home reports on them that all the kids in school will know about. Over weight kids have a hard enough time without the reports. Do they really think the parents don’t realize their kids are overweight. Nothing wrong with schools teaching them the right way to eat but stop with the reports. I know most of you won't agree but that's my opinion.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Moonlake, You are so right on many levels. However, I have run into many people who are in denial about their weight and their children's weight. I don't think it's as useful to point out that an individual is overweight as much as it is important to teach healthy eating habits. Sometimes that alone is enough to make a difference in weight. My weight had moved into the overweight category and I started to have the problems associated with that. I changed my eating habits, which had always been fairly decent, but I drank way too many Cokes and ate Snickers bars. I dropped the Cokes entirely, along with the Snickers bars. I started eating little meals loaded with vegetables and fruits and a little chicken, salmon and turkey burgers (without the bread), increased my exercise and I lost fifteen pounds over time. I also started taking supplements to be sure I got enough vitamins. It's not easy with all the temptations and our own habits.

Thank you so much for your comments. They are always welcome. Take care.

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

A valuable hub about an important topic Cyndi. Obesity is hard to reverse, especially when it seems like all the restaurants are against it. Everyone suggests you buy more, supersize it. Recently, I went to Panda Express and they told me they don't sell the two entree plates anymore - you have to get three entrees! The serving sizes get bigger and bigger. Cooking and eating at home and avoiding all the hype is a big step. Another reason to stop watching TV is all the food commercials that make you feel hungry while you are watching them.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hey, i didn't think about those tv ads, but they do the job, don't they? They can really make you want to go reach for whatever it is they're pushing. If we, as adults are vulnerable to that, think of how it affects the kids. Yep, another reason not to watch too much.

And the portion sizes!, when I'm out, I automatically halve my meal and put it in a to-go box. Many times I only order the appetizer and something to drink. Luckily, I've never been a big desert person.

Thank you so much for reading about the growing health problem today. I really appreciate hearing from you and your comments. Take care.

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Daphne Shadows 4 years ago

What is sad to me is how people everywhere are ignoring this. Or celebrating it even. Its scary, I don't want people I know and love ending up with Diabetes. The weight gain is not healthy and people become too depressed too easily because of it. But, as you pointed out, people don't want to change the way they live.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Diabetes and heart disease are not what I want just because I ate too much. And like you, I don't want it to happen to those I care about. If we get them for other reasons, that's a different thing. Hopefully, people will begin to make a conscious effort to watch what they eat. Thank you so much for leaving a comment. Take care.

Dreamjar profile image

Dreamjar 4 years ago from Florida

This is definately a topic that needs to be addressed. Ecouraging people to address this issue by changing a few things in their life at a time is the best way to encourage people to believe it is possible to get their weight under control.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Some people are the kind that will make drastic changes and have success, but most people are only going to be successful if the change is gradual and their is a change in their way of thinking about food and increased activity.

toptendeals profile image

toptendeals 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida

I find myself slacking on fruits and vegetables and skipping my multivitamins. Hopefully this hub will give me a kick in the butt I need. :)

Voted up.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, At least you can admit that you are not eating enough fruits and veggies. That goes a long way to correcting it. In fact, your comment reminded me to take my multivitamin. :-) Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

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