Why is America Overweight?
by Renee Kennedy
We know that being overweight causes many health problems. It increases the risk of
fatal diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But what is at
the root of the obesity problem in America?
There are two basic causes
for becoming overweight or obese: too much food and too little exercise.
It sounds like an issue
based on an individual person's willpower. However, when you
realize that today 65% of Americans are overweight, you may begin to understand that this is a real
problem that all Americans need to be aware of.
Problem #1 - Food:
From fast food restaurants
to processed white bread, we are ingesting foods that make us fat.
Research is beginning to show that it's not just a willpower issue,
it's an issue that must be addressed by food manufacturers and possibly
stricter government regulations.
While writing this article, Kraft announced a new campaign to
reduce portion sizes and to cut back on sugar and fat in their
processed foods. Why? Because processed foods are contributing
to obesity in America. There are three reasons why this is so:
- Over the past 30 years, Americans have increased consumption of
high-fructose corn syrup (found in processed food ? cookies, cakes,
cereal, soda, etc.) from 5.5 pounds per person per year to 62.4 pounds
per person per year. Recent studies have proven that while regular
table sugar raises blood insulin levels that will lead to a sense of
feeling full, fructose corn syrup does not.
- We are also consuming more fat than we were 30 years ago. Again, processed
foods (snack foods, baked goods, etc.) contain a high percentage of fats.
Harmful partially hydrogenated oils (chemically altered oils or trans-fatty acids)
are also found in practically every snack food and baked good
on the market (including white bread). If you need more information on
fat, read What Kind of Fat Can You Eat?
- We are consuming about half the amount of fiber recommended by the American
Dietetic association. If you are filling yourself with processed food, you
are not getting the needed fiber in your diet.
Problem #2 - Exercise:
To complicate the issue further, 30 years ago people were getting exercise just in their
daily routines. Today, technology has made our lives easier, but it's also made us lazier.
Practically every American household has washers, dryers, TV?s with remotes,
vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and cars. To put it simply, the more technology
you have to make your life easier, the less exercise you are going to get.
Getting the proper amount of exercise now costs us money and time that we feel
we don't have.
How can we each do our part to combat obesity?
- Examine your diet. Are there ways you can eat healthier?
Use your NutriCounter to help you determine eating patterns.
- Choose unprocessed foods, lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs, whole grains.
- If you must buy processed foods, learn to read the backs of packages and food labels.
Sometimes, if a package says ?low-fat? that doesn?t necessarily mean healthy.
Know what you are putting into your body by educating yourself.
- Get exercise every day. Examine your schedule and make the time for it.
This section of the NutriCounter site is designed for educational purposes only.
The information provided
through this site should not be used for diagnosing or
treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a
substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect
you may have a health problem, you should consult
your health care provider.