WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is when someone is severely overweight, having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher -as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (49)
For example, an adult male or female that is 5 feet 8 inches tall would be considered obese if they weighed over 197 pounds. Being severely overweight can cause or contribute to a slew of illnesses, many of which are life threatening.
Our modern day society is slowly making changes to help combat this epidemic. But, fast and ready food in unlimited abundance still makes things worse. Slim are the days in the USA when hard work out on the farm earned you a homegrown and wholesome supper at the dinner table, a reward well worth your day’s work. To get to work, we no longer have to get the horses ready from out in the barn, we just slide behind the steering wheel and slightly push the pedal down with our foot.
Many Americans take but a few steps to their car from their couch, burn gasoline to get to work, and walk a few parking spaces to their desk -where they spend the rest of the day sitting. Performing this routine day after day over months, and even years, adds up. Our bodies pack on the
pounds, slow down blood flow, and create unnecessary stress on our joints and organs that eventually takes its toll and leaves us on death’s doorstep.
Make no joke about it, obesity is bad for your body. In many cases, even being overweight without being obese will contribute to the same types of illnesses. 1/3 of American adults are obese, meaning they are severely overweight. (50)
In 2011, the state with the highest percentage of obese adults was Mississippi -at ~35%. The next 5 with the highest percentages were Louisiana -at ~33%, West Virginia -at ~32%, Alabama -at ~32%, Oklahoma -at ~31%, and Arkansas -at ~31%. The state with the least percentage of obese adults was Colorado -at ~21%. The next 5 with the lowest percentages are Hawaii -at ~22%, Massachusetts -at ~23%, New Jersey -at ~24%, California -at ~24%, and Utah -at ~24%. (51)
Obesity among children has been on the rise over the past decades. In 1970, 4.5% of children were obese. 34 years later, in 2004 nearly 20% of children are obese. This upward trend of obesity during a person’s younger years has been shown to directly influence their lifespan. (52)
As a result of this increased prevalence of childhood obesity in the USA, weight related illnesses are going up among children.
Decades ago, more children were seen playing outside, running, and bicycling. These days many children occupy more of their time on the computer, playing video games, and watching cable television. Children take the car to wherever they need to go and follow their parents’ example of limited physical activity.
Unfortunately, today’s decreased activity levels, coupled with a substantial increase in the availability of food and fast food, provide a recipe for more overweight children within our society.
These days, children at the age of 3 are being diagnosed with type II Diabetes, a result of being severely overweight. Diabetes at such a young age will have a substantial impact on the lifespan of this child as well as their quality of life.
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