American Obesity (2)

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.

As mentioned above, nearly 40 percent of Americans are obese. 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 are a wealthy nation, and food is plentiful. Another 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.

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 on average 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 must urge the current administration and Congress to initiate movement towards a healthier nation by stressing the need for all of us to get our weight under control.

Let’s press ahead.

2 thoughts on “American Obesity (2)”

  1. Tom, obesity is a complex problem. Sure Americans indulge too much and portions are too large. But food addiction is real. Some people cope with hurts and mental health issues via food no different than others do with alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or other drugs. The difference is you can’t go cold turkey with food; we all need to eat. Michelle Obama pushed this conversation and made substantial gains as far as childhood obesity during the Obama years. I agree we should revisit this challenge population-wide. And let’s not forget the pandemic has contributed to mental health issues of all kinds. But we should start from a position of compassion with our ears open to what the causes are, not judgment. I recall days when alcoholics were judged harshly. It didn’t help.

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  2. As always, Rose, your comment clarifies and expands the discussion. You’re right that I didn’t give enough emphasis to food addiction as is warranted. And compassion is better than condemnation. Thanks for the correction.

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