Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Americans are Trying to Lose Weight

More than half of Americans (55%) say they are trying to lose weight according to a study by The International Food Information Council Foundation.  From 1960 to 1980 the obesity rate remained stable at about 15%.  Since that time it has risen to 36% in 2010 and is still on the rise.  Despite the fact that we are getting healthier in many other ways, the obesity epidemic stands to wipe out all of the other health gains.

Body weight is the result of genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and socioeconomic status.  But genes and metabolism have not contributed to the rapid obesity rise in the U.S.  The other factors are at play here.

If you think it is from the proliferation of fast, easy available food, cheap junk food calories and the fact that fewer people cook at home anymore, you would be correct.  Just look around at how easy it is to find food.  Every mini-mart, drug store, public place has vending machines and available junk food.  And serving sizes have grown along with our waistlines.

 Physical Ed has been eliminated from schools and our society doesn't let kids go out and play alone anymore.  When they do play organized sport the moms bring treats and snacks for the whole team on a rotating basis. 
Just about everything in our culture is poised AGAINST healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight.  Jaimie Oliver was on TV for awhile with his food revolution, promoting healthy diets for school kids.  But we are fickle with our TV habits and he is off the radar now.  We need to bring that information back and keep promoting healthy eating for our kids. We need to create environments that promote health and education is a place to start.

Back to the survey that reported 55% of us are trying to lose weight.  Unfortunately our fast-food culture isn't helping much,  but change has to start at the beginning and eliminating soft drinks, processed carbohydrates and sugar would go a long way to restoring health and reversing this worrisome trend. 


Anonymous said...

This is far afield from the message of your post-- Jaime Oliver recently gained some weight and suffered no small amount of ribbing from the UK press. The weight thing is so darn complicated. But what I have come to believe more than anything else related to weight loss: calories in.
( Just one more piece of added evidence that makes me believe this, is an article in Runners World, where Arby discusses a super thin tribe in Tanzania: turns out those folks move around about the same as us.)

Siri said...

The "fattening" of America is truly our #1 health issue, but it doesn't get the press it should.. just not sexy enough for the nightly news I suspect.

I will share our family's recent weight loss story. My 10 year old son (5' tall) signed up for football at 127 lbs. For his age category, the weight limit is 115. Well, my very motivated kid excercised regularily (including 3 days a week of 2 hour football practice), ran on his own time when not practicing and really restricted his calories - all at his own direction. He now weighs in at 102 lbs and got a "Coaches Award" from football.

My point, besides wanting to brag about my son, is that he did this on his own. I tried and tried to get him motivated to lose weight, without any success at all. Sometimes I guess parents have to take a flyer (like we did with football) and let your kids take the lead.

I don't have any magic answers, but thought my son's story was worth sharing...

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Siri: You must be so happy about your son and his motivation to lose weight. You are correct that nagging or making food a big issue seldom works and often back-fires with kids (and adults!). Eliminating soda and sugary drinks as an option is the first and easiest way to start. It is hard, but having quick healthy snacks available is also a way to motivate without restricting. I used to cut apples into "apple cookie" slices and that worked. As moms we all struggle with this and when we are busy it is even harder. As you point out, weight control really does have to start with the individual.

Anthoney said...

Hi Toni,
Agree with you as Americans are trying to lose weight and to lose weight we must break our meals in 5/6 small meals including snacks and prefer raw food over processed food. Drink more water than routine, start green tea and avoid beverages and soda. Do not eat shortly before going to bed and sleep for 7/8 hours in a day.
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