The rate that the obesity has grown in the last 20 years is outrageous. In 1985, the census shows that there were no states with an obesity rate of 25% or over. In 2008, 32 states had an obesity rate of 25% or over. 6 of those states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia ) had an obesity rate of 30% or over.
By the way, obesity is defined by having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or over. (It’s measured with by a person’s weight divided by height, you can check your BMI here). It can cause cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Although certain athletes and people may show a BMI of 30 or over, because they may be taller or have more muscle. Measuring BMI for the general population is fine.
It reminds me of the movie Wall-E, where everyone floated around in chairs and had everything spoon fed to them. At the rate it’s going, I can see that happening.
So what caused the boom in the obesity rate?
I think 2 things, the advancement of technology and the wider availability of processed foods.
We’ve all fallen to the conveniences of technology, it’s helped make certain tasks less daunting and less time consuming. It has also helped shorten a lot of lives as well. Society is always on the go these days, got to do this and that, go go go go. Where are we all racing to?
We don’t have the time to prepare our own meals anymore, so we do the next best thing and go thru a drive thru or pop something in the microwave. Boom, instant meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love burgers and fries, but I don’t eat it every day! It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare something healthy, most people just don’t want to do it. Processed foods contain very minimal amounts of nutrients, no matter what it says on the box. It’s loaded up with sodium and preservatives. Also tons of empty calories! Over time and many meals, the calories add up.
So what can people do?
Take the time out for yourself, everyday. Work out at least 30 minutes a day, and try to prepare healthier meals in advance. We need to get away from the thought of instant gratification, and just think a bit before we act on impulses. We also need to help educate children about the dangers of obesity. Kids today are heavier then they ever were. I rarely see kids being active, most are tucked behind a TV screen playing video games and eating junk food. The NFL has started a campaign for helping kids be more active, it’s called Play 60. It’s a great start to help our youth and community to become aware of the issue.