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.
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.