One of the biggest health problems facing our country is obesity. In 31 of the states, obesity is on the rise. Overall, according to reports, around 66% of American adults are overweight or obese, and children are following suit. So what can be done?
Understanding the Public Health Crisis
Most dieticians and nutritionists agree that once someone’s BMI is over 25, they are classed as ‘overweight’. Obese people have a BMI of at least 30. It is also a fact that obesity can kill, and it is linked to various comorbid conditions include sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, low self-esteem, alcoholism, and more.
Obesity Rises Because of Many Reasons
The World Health Organization has warned the general public about the dangers of obesity. They have also stated that there are currently some 2 billion people worldwide who are obese, a quarter of the total human population. They cite reasons as being:
- Leading sedentary lifestyles
- Eating too much junk food
Perhaps most worrying is the fact that children are becoming obese. There are some 25 million children in this country who are overweight or obese. The Southern states fare the worse in this, with 10 out of 15 having the highest levels of childhood obesity. And, frighteningly, despite widespread knowledge, the numbers continue to increase.
What Can Be Done?
Most of us, by now, have heard about bariatric surgery and the fact that it is generally available through public medical insurance. There are also countless educational programs out there to try and help people to change their eating habits and activity levels. But clearly, it isn’t working. Below are five things that must be implemented if there is to be any change:
- All individuals must be supported to make positive lifestyle choices. This support should be available in government, food and drinks companies, employers, communities, families, schools, and more.
- Pediatricians must start to look into the activity levels of the children they treat, ensuring that parents encourage their children to move more. Additionally, the health supervision they provide should be improved so that fewer people live almost all of their life in a sedentary way.
- The government should, at all levels, work together with employers to make sure that companies start to offer their employees wellness programs that they can – and should – participate in to promote better health and well-being.
- Further research must be done in order to truly promote healthy eating habits. Furthermore, funding should be made available to develop programs for better lifestyles.
- A national strategy should be created at federal level in order to combat obesity, with actionable results that all agencies involved sign up to.
Some of the five points above are starting to be developed. However, since the rates of obesity continue to rise, a more concerted effort has to be made to properly implement these suggestions. If we don’t address the problem now, the future looks very bleak for the future generations.