Obesity: A Worldwide Epidemic

by Lisa Breitenwischer

October 17, 2020

Obesity: A Worldwide Epidemic

U.S. adults continue to put on the pounds and new data reported by Federal Health Officials on March 23, 2018 show that nearly 40% of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier. The prevalence of severe obesity in U.S. adults is heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers.

Obesity isn’t a secret in the U.S., but the continued domestic epidemic, especially after the former Obama administration declared war on it, is alarming officials. Public health experts said that efforts to educate people about the health risks of a poor diet, do not seem to be working.

“Most people know that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and if you eat too much, that contributes to being overweight,” said Dr. James Krieger, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington and executive director of Healthy Food America, an advocacy group. “But just telling people there’s a problem doesn’t solve it.”

So what’s going on? Why are more people getting fatter?

A team from Georgia Southern University’s College of Public Health offered a relatively simple explanation for this phenomenon, writing that “socially acceptable body weight is increasing”. They pointed to a 2010 study in the journal Obesity that chronicled “a generational shift in social norms related to body weight in which, effectively, fat has become the new normal”.

But the researchers who produced the new report in JAMA acknowledged that there may be other faults in the chain of reasoning that goes, “if fat, then diet. They wrote, “it’s possible that body weight misperception” may be reducing people’s motivation to engage in weight-loss efforts. And it may be that primary-care physicians, who are supposed to counsel obese patients to lose weight, are failing to do so. But the authors also acknowledged another possibility: that many people have been overweight or obese for so long — and tried dieting so many times — that they have simply given up.

I’m a firm believer that diets don’t work. At least not long term. One thing that can help a person lose weight, is keeping a food journal. Whether you’re 10 pounds over weight or 100 pounds over, it brings awareness to what you are eating and how much you are eating each day. Awareness is the first step for real change. While in school at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I kept a food journal and with in the first week, I was surprised at the amount of snacking I did. I had no idea I was eating so many handfuls of nuts a day. When we eat mindlessly, we eat more. I also learned that my body needed more fat and protein. I started adding good fats and more protein and was able to decrease the snacking and increase my energy.

If you are ready to start something new that works, try recording what you eat and how much you eat each day. Be honest with your self so you can become aware. Look at it like an experiment. Record any physical or emotional symptoms you experience after a meal or a snack, too. Record positive and negative effects your meals have on you. This way you will learn what your body likes and dislikes. It’s a fascinating experiment and can help you on the path to better health!

If you need additional support, schedule a Health Consultation today!

JAMA-Journal of American Medical Association
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