Why Obesity Rate is increasing in the USA

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Obesity is a serious public health issue in the United States. Since 1970, it has more than doubled in both children and adults (Flegal 236). Obesity is still a serious health concern in America, despite recent statistics indicating that the rate is steady in many areas (Ogden 1553). The syndrome has resulted in an increase in a variety of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes (Center for Diseases control and prevention).

Obesity is currently at 37.7% in adults, 17.0% in children, and 40.1% in females in the United States. The most affect groups are the non-Hispanic black groups with an obesity rate of 48.1% and Hispanic at 42.5% (Flegal 238). Obesity is one of the costs of the ballooning healthcare cost in the United States. The current estimate put the cost of treating obesity between $147 billion and $210 billion annually (Stephenson 445). The rate of obesity has seen a significant rise in the recent years. In 1997 the overall obesity rate was 19.4%, while in 2004 the rate increased to 24.5%(Marks 2). In 2007 obese rate went even higher to 26.6%, in 2008 was 33.8%, and 2016 overweight rate stood at 36.5% (Center for Diseases control and prevention). In this discussion, we look at the reason for the rise and prevalence of obesity in the United States.

The increase in the obese condition in the USA has been associated with many lifestyles, and behavioral issues among these are the lack of exercise, availability of fast foods and presence of food additives. Sedentary activities are the leading cause of obesity in the America. Statistic indicates that one out of children in America are obese and most of them will struggle with this condition for the rest of their lives (Stephenson 442). One contributor of this disorder is the presence of electronic media. Most children in the US do not engage in the primary physical activities such as playing hopscotch ballgame and swinging on swings as expected (Stanish). They view them as unpopular, and as such they would rather spend hours glued to their television, surfing websites and playing video games. Most parents feel safe when their children stay indoors, unknown to them is the cost associated with their children stay indoors.

Furthermore, high consumption of fast food has also contributed to the escalating obese rate in America. The use of junk food has increased drastically since the 1970s. In the 1970s, the households in the United States would spend approximately $6 billion in fast food. However, by 2000 the expenditure had risen to $110 billion (Ogden 1552). Currently, it is approximated that each household spends $1200 of fast food annually. The increase in the spending in fast food triggered the growth in the number of obese people from 1970s to 2016. The usage of junk food such cookies, spaghetti sauce, soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup after the 1970s resulted to more overweight people. Today, these foods available everywhere in the US. Besides, advertisement of fast food by such companies such as Macdonald have increased over time resulting in a rise in the use if these food items.

Most American especially those working are found of stopping in fast food outlet on their way home. In these house shops, they pick up boxes of fries, greasy chicken, and large soft drink for consumption once they reach home (Stanish). The effect of such habit has been the rise in the use of fast food not only on them but even for their children and families at large. The purchase of food foods has also resulted in increasing in calories taken by most Americans. It is estimated that adults in America eat between 500 and 800 calories per day more than they require on a daily basis to maintain the body weight (Center for Diseases control and prevention). Thus the rise in the obese condition in America is significantly influenced by consumption of fast food.

Moreover, the increase in obesity in the US has been considerably affected by the method of transportation used by people from one destination to the other (Stanish). Most American rely heavily on their car as a mean of transportation. The trend is common in urban areas where children are taken to school via automobiles. The same applies to suburbs where families and people stay far from each other and it difficult to walk to business centers and visit people. Thus majority these locations would prefer to use the car to travel than to cycle or walk. The less effort in using other means of transportation such as walking and cycling together with consumption of high-calorie foods has contributed rise in obese conditions.

Countries that do not depend on car transport such as Sweden and Netherlands have less level of overweight conditions. On average 62% of Swedish walk or cycle and as such only 9% are obese (Stephenson 443). These statistics are apparently opposite of what is happen in the United Sates. Only 12% of the American use the effective mean of transportation such as cycling and walking. As a result of the less involvement in active transportation, approximately 36.5% are obese. Despite the rise, appropriate strategies can be taken by all stakeholders from parents, children, and adults to control the situation. Avoidance of consumption of high calories food items, proper exercise and involvement in active transportation can help reduce the rise in the obese condition in America.

In conclusion, the overweight state has been growing in America in the past decade. The primary cause of the increase in overweight is involvement in sedentary activities, consumption of high-calorie foods especially fast foods and lack of proper exercise and active transport among American. This condition can be prevented through the active participation of all individuals. Both children and adult should take appropriate measures including vigorous exercise and proper eating habits that do not include consumption of fast food diets.

Work cited

Center for Diseases control and prevention (CDC). "Adult Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 01 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

Flegal, Katherine M., et al. "Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008." Jama 303.3 (2010): 235-241.

Marks, Jennifer B. "Obesity in America: it’s getting worse." Clinical Diabetes 22.1 (2004): 1-2.

Ogden, Cynthia L., et al. "Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999-2004." Jama 295.13 (2006): 1549-1555

Stanish, Janelle R. "The Obesity Epidemic in America and the Responsibility of Big Food Manufacturers." Inquiries Journal 2.11 (2010).

Stephenson, Priscilla L., and Mary Virginia Taylor. "Obesity in children and adolescents: a webliography." Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet 16.4 (2012): 440-449.

April 26, 2023

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