By Cailyn Carr 10/17/16
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a study that found record highs of 40% obesity in American adults and nearly 20% in children. Healthy-weight Americans are now in the minority, with 70.7% of citizens being either overweight or obese.
Unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise prevail over the majority of obese Americans, despite public health efforts like Michelle Obama’s healthy lunch initiative. A study released by Georgia Southern University found that fewer Americans are actively trying to lose weight than in previous years. Among other risk factors for obesity, sleep deprivation can lead to overeating and lethargy that impedes physical activity. Up to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine.
The CDC report claims that America has seen an increase in recreational activity in recent years, but a decrease in activity at work and at home. Decreases in physical labor have led to more sedentary lifestyles. Accessibility and low-cost make processed, fatty, and sugary foods attractive.
The amount of Americans who fall into the category of obesity, or having a body mass index of more than thirty, can have serious long-term consequences. The World Health Organization reports that childhood obesity has increased tenfold over the past forty years, with one in five children today being obese. Studies have shown that those who are obese in childhood are more likely to stay obese as adults, putting them at risk for early death due to heart disease, stroke, and more.
Widespread obesity is also a financial burden for our country as a whole. NBC News reports that weight-related medical bills cost the U.S. health care system $190 billion per year.