There seems to be a constant stream of reports on television, radio, newspapers and the web about the obesity crisis in America. If there has been so much exposure to this deadly problem, why hasn’t this crisis turned around?Here are some statistics to mull over: According to ObesityinAmerica.org, “In 1991, only four of 45 states participating in the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System had obesity prevalence rates of 15 to 19 percent and none had obesity prevalence rates greater than 20 percent. By the year 2000, all of the 50 states had obesity prevalence rates of 15 percent or greater, with 35 of the 50 states having obesity prevalence rates as high as 20 percent or greater.”
The prevalence of obese individuals in the U.S. increased to 20.9 percent in 2001, a 5.6 percent increase in one year and a 74 percent increase since 1991.
Time Magazine states, “Fully two-thirds of U.S. adults are officially overweight, and about half of those have graduated to full-blown obesity. The rates for African Americans and Latinos are even higher.”
What are the reasons the obesity crisis has not lessened in America? Despite the increase in media coverage, the following still occurs:
- Families, in their fast-paced life style, still eat inordinate amounts of fast foods that are high in the wrong fats, calories and sugars.
- Children spend more time in front of televisions, computers or other electronics and therefore live almost total sedentary lifestyles.
- Public Schools have cut back on Physical Education. Therefore the opportunity to move one’s body at school has markedly decreased.
- Children do not spontaneously play outside. If they do play sports, it is only in an organized, regimented fashion.
- Poverty is a major factor here. Many low-income neighborhoods do not have grocery stores nearby that sell fresh fruit and vegetables.
- While the benefits of exercise are well known, parents are reluctant to take the time and energy to begin an exercise program and therefore modeling a sedentary lifestyle for their children.
- People don’t walk anywhere anymore. Children are driven everywhere by their parents. There are some communities that have hardly any sidewalks!
What can we do about this issue? What is being done about this problem?