Obesity means we need to chew the fat, figuratively, that is. With adult and child obesity rates hitting the charts at a rapid pace, the discussion needs to take place for the health of the country. What does overindulging say about the priorities of U.S. citizens? Why are we putting too much food in our bodies?
Many scientists suggest that because we are no longer cavemen, using energy to find food during hunting and gathering, we do not receive signals to our brains telling us that we are no longer hungry. The great amount of care in providing food to the clan took a lot of calories, and there were always lean times.
Others believe that the presence of food on every corner makes it easy to overeat. Adults can eat anything they want to and now whenever they want, since restaurants and drive through fast food are open at all hours. Adults and children eat fried chicken, Chinese food, cheeseburgers with bacon on top, and Mexican food, with large portions of rice and beans to name a few popular fast food choices.
What does the research say?
Researchers collected data from 19,479 black women aged 21 to 39 years with a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 29.9 at baseline. From 1995 to 2009, the study participants reported their weight every 2 years. Dietary intake was assessed in 1995 and 2001 by self-administered questionnaires.
Those women who drank sugary drinks and hamburgers, or went out to eat often showed the most propensity to gain weight excessively. They were also more likely to drink alcohol and smoke. Over the 14 year follow-up, 6,947 women became obese. Fried chicken, pizza, and Chinese food were also significantly linked to obesity.
A discussion should take place about the overindulgence in eating, and soon. There are many citizens who think that the U.S. government should not hold our hands by telling us how to behave. However, there is a time when the government should take the responsibility of keeping our consumers educated on the composition of foods that are for sell in restaurants and fast food joints. Offering community education on proper nutrition and exercise would also be an excellent idea to fight fat in the future.
A BMI of 45 for most people means that one is morbidly obese and about 100 pounds overweight. The fat can cover the bodies organs, making it difficult for proper blood flow throughout the body. A Duke University study showed that the higher ones BMI, the higher the cost of medical treatment, not only for the patient, but in some cases for government agencies that fund medical care. The cost of having diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure is high. Since obesity causes chronic diseases, the cost continues into the individual’s possibly shortened life.
Bariatric procedures add to the high cost of medical treatment. There are younger patients asking for the procedure, but unless they change their eating habits, the weight tends to come back.
Even funeral directors feel the effects of our bigger citizens. Casket sizes have gone from the standard width of 28 inches, to 37 inches for those who weigh around 400 to 500 pounds. Sometimes caskets have to be constructed to be deeper as well. The tummy is what often does not fit when the deceased is placed in the coffin.
Obesity means that we need to chew the fat to come up with a solution to the U.S. health problems that have resulted from our enthusiasm for eating foods that are bad for our bodies. Let us start now.
By Lisa M Pickering