Obesity & Diabetes

How Fat Are We as a Nation?

Recent statistics on statewide obesity rates paint a grim picture of the American healthscape. A July 2009 report issued by the Trust for America's Health issued an alarming report with adult obesity rates ranging from 18.9% in Colorado (lowest levels) to 32.5% in Mississippi (highest levels). Adult obesity rates exceeded 25% in 31 states and the statistics are similar for children as well signaling the long term trend of our ever expanding waistlines.

The children of Mississippi tallied an appalling 44.4% obesity rate. Childhood obesity has increased three fold since 1980 nationwide and even the best states (Minnesota, Utah) show almost 1 in 4 children as obese. Doctors are now seeing Type 2 diabete development in children as young as nine years old. This is child abuse and signals an ever spiraling heath care problem which if not addressed through prevention threatens our economy and way of life.

The current focus on spiraling healthcare costs have made scapegoats out of the health insurance and drug industries and although they share in the blame we do not need to look much further than ourselves to find the real villains.

As recent as the 1960's we did not have an obesity epidemic and arguably our diet was much worse than today. So what is going wrong? Where did we step off the health track as a nation?

The answer lies in many areas but the number one culprit appears to be lifestyle changes brought on by the technology revolution. Many Americans spend 8-10 hours per day at a desk and computer only to return home and surf hundreds of entertainment options on home computers and televisions. Children are no sedentary throughout the day with little exercise, even at school.

Inactivity is killing us. We now burn approximately 700 calories less per day than we did in the 1960's on average yet we blame doctors, insurers, drug companies and the government for our plight.

Many Americans are in denial and obviously need a wake up call. We must incorporate more movement throughout the day in our schools and in our work place. The responsibility for our health lies squarely on our own shoulders.