Gentlemen, are you cool with spending $2,646 annually to be obese? And ladies, how does $4,879 sound? George Washington University (GWU) researchers conducted a recent study yielding the price victims of the obesity epidemic pay each year. As scales skyrocket, wallets wallow in emptiness.
GWU found that over 60 percent of the U.S. population is overweight or obese and if we continue getting bigger, 50 percent of the population will be obese by 2030. It’s scary to think that if it’s not going to be your best friend ballooning up, it will be you.
According to another report by the Trust for America’s Health, adult obesity rates have increased in 28 states since 2009. It surprised me that California was ranked the 41st most obese state in the nation. I was thinking top five. Regardless, with an adult obesity rate of 24.4 percent, I can’t help but wonder, what gives?
It’s known that numerous negative side effects emerge as a result of obesity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists coronary heart disease, type-two diabetes, hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, infertility and various cancers to name a few.
Needless to say, Houston, we have a problem.
We’re simultaneously expanding our waistlines and withering our lifespan, for what? Is the couch and greasy food ever going to give us anything back besides pounds and pounds of problems? This is no joke, this is real and it’s serious. As double chins and love handles become more than a commonality in this country, quality of life declines at a devastating rate.
Even the military is concerned. A letter to Congress titled “Too Fat to Fight” from Mission Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids, states 75 percent of Americans 17 to 24 years of age are not eligible to join our forces, in part because they are physically unfit.
Their message goes on to say that being overweight or obese is the leading medical reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service. The group is hoping to gain support for new legislation that eliminates the serving of junk food at schools.
I can’t help but keep my fingers crossed for such political action. Take a look at CSUN’s campus. There’s only one Subway while Panda Express and Burger King bombard our sense of smell urging us to choose the fries and orange chicken over vegetables.
On-campus convenience stores push fancy candies, chips, muffins, and high calorie beverages with lollipops lining the check-out stand.
With unhealthy options being significantly favored over smarter choices, how will students with strict time constraints and class commitments refuse the desire to purchase what is quick, easy and ultimately fat-filled?
It’s painstakingly obvious, America. We’re eating with our eyes and ignoring our health.
We need to take initiative and get active. We need to reduce our proportions and understand nutrition labels. We need to get to know salads, fruits, fiber, and whole grains and give sugar the boot.
We’re on the fast track to fat, let’s change our direction.
First lady Michelle Obama remains an advocate for healthy choices. As reported by the L.A. Times, Obama suggests altering restaurant menus for the better through serving apple slices as a default side dish, pouring less butter and cream into recipes, and substituting white pastas with whole wheat.
In addition, Obama proposes that kid’s menus should offer more carrots and less macaroni and cheese. Most importantly, considering many dining out options are over 1,000 calories, proportions should be significantly reduced.
As soon as restaurants, school cafeterias, and vending machines cut quantity and focus on quality we might stand a chance at a better future.
So, instead of eating with your eyes, close them and picture a healthier America. It starts with you, making the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle by participating in daily physical activity while sticking to single servings.
Don’t be a statistic. Let’s strive for a slimmer nation.
Megan Magers contributed to this report