The Hawkeye

Obesity: Common, Costly

Ashish Dev, [email protected]

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Among the biggest health problems in the world, one has been gaining a lot of attention from people and the media.

Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., 36 percent of the adult population is now obese.

With such drastic increase in its prevalence, obesity is becoming a major health concern.

Obesity is linked to stroke, diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure and different types of cancer.

Obesity is common and serious.

Being physically unhealthy not only affects the individual, but also decreases the working potential of their country.

The further deterioration of adult health in the workforce is definitely troubling.

Obesity is also very costly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008.

Two of the main causes of obesity are improper food consumption and lack of physical exercise.

Food production has skyrocketed in modern times.

There’s a fast food place on every corner making food more available than ever before.

This phenomenon has tempted people to eat more than they actually need.

But it’s not just a problem of how much we eat but also what we eat.

Experts recommend that we eat plant produce for half of every meal.

This will help to maintain a healthy weight.

However, a very small portion of American diets come from plants.

Big food also plays a role in the obesity epidemic.

Out of 600,000 food items in the U.S., a staggering 80 percent have added sugar.

With the growing popularity of low-fat food, the food industry came up with adaptive methods to re-engineer their food to low-fat.

But low-fat food has a really bad taste.

Hence, food companies started adding sugar to their products to make them taste better.

Adding sugar to most food we consume paired with a continuous decline in the habit of eating homemade food has caused a big calorie spike in our diet.

However, it is important to remember, “all calories aren’t created equal.”

For instance, in the Netflix documentary “Fed UP,” it explains that 160 calories worth of almonds come with a healthy dose of fiber.

This boosts digestion and keeps blood sugar levels from spiking.

160 calories worth of soda, however, are absorbed straight into the liver, causing a “sugar rush” and the immediate conversion of sugar to fat.

Both options may be 160 calories, but they cause completely different reactions within the body.

So, we need increased awareness in the food we eat and the amount of sugar it has to avoid unhealthy eating habits.

Another reason for obesity spikes is the lack of physical activity.

Technology makes our lives easier and faster.

However, because of this fact, our net physical activity per day has been decreasing for decades.

Most jobs are done sitting at a desk or working on a computer.

Plus, due to the popularity of cars, the average American walks less than the average European.

Because of out lack of physical activity, we burn less calories compared to what we consume.

This creates an imbalance.

The extra calories get stored as fat in the body and can very often lead to obesity.

Obesity is preventable if we become more mindful of the amount and quality of the food we eat, and the amount of physical activity we do.

1 Comment

One Response to “Obesity: Common, Costly”

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Obesity: Common, Costly