American Addiction to Obesity

When I traverse through public places, I always see so many people who are fat. They’re everywhere—in stores, on the street, in restaurants. And I don’t mean just overweight. Almost everyone I know is overweight. I mean obese, corpulently gross.

So I checked sources on American obesity. I learned that the estimate of Americans who are obese ranges from 36 to 40 percent, according to several sources including the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An astonishing number. Obesity is considered a chronic disease by many organizations including The American Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health. It is a national epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why are the majority of Americans overweight or obese? None of the sources I consulted could offer me an explanation. My guess is that one reason is that we have become indolent. We spend our leisure time in passive pursuits—watching television, searching the internet—rather than physically active ones, e.g., walking, running, and sports.

And obesity is unquestionably unhealthy. It contributes to a variety of illness including heart disease.

What is the solution to our national dilemma? I don’t have an answer. But I believe that as a nation we must seek a resolution, the sooner the better. We are not living as long as we used to. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, a baby born in 2017 is expected to live to be 78.6 years old, which is down from 78.7 the year before. Obesity is not listed among the causes of our shortened life expectancy, but it surely must be a contributing factor.

We can’t expect the current administration or Congress to initiate movement toward a healthier nation, but maybe after the 2020 election things will change. I fervently hope so.

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