The fact that obesity statistics have never been higher has raised a substantial amount of awareness and concern in regards to this issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over one-third of U.S. adults, about 97 million, are obese. This number is expected to rise to 42 percent by the year 2030; however, some forecasters have predicted the number could easily be over 50 percent. This is a frightening projection not only for the health of the nation, but in addition to the expense to cover ailments associated with obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, and more.
As the Associated Press states, “The number of obese Americans soared during the 1980s and 1990s, doubling among adults in the U.S. and tripling among children. Sedentary lifestyles and changes in eating habits have contributed to weight gain, as more Americans work at desk jobs, use electronic devices and get served increasingly larger portions at restaurants.”
Obesity numbers continue to rise – Why is that?
Lifestyles of the majority of individuals changed with the development of new electronic gadgets for use in the household such as televisions, computers and gaming systems. People now found a reason to stay indoors glued to the chair, sofa, or bed. Now, when faced with the decision to go outside and be active, or stay home and watch a new hit movie or play video games, the latter option has been chosen more frequently than ever before.
In addition to the distractions new technologies have provided, a staggering number of fast food restaurants have popped up across the globe over the past few decades that for the most part, have not offered the healthiest of choices. Granted, the obesity epidemic cannot be blamed entirely on these food establishments, there are certain arguments that can be made especially when statistics show that about 44 percent of Americans claim to eat fast food at least once a week.
Portion sizes at restaurants have increased which means a lot more calories
Another factor to take into account is the larger portion sizes of most items purchased when dining out. Not only will you find that the sizes of meals at restaurants and fast food spots have grown quite large over the years, but even items purchased from convenience stores and supermarkets have increased. A muffin which used to be the size of a baseball, is now the size of a softball. A Big Gulp soda from the popular store 7-11 used to be 32 ounces, now they offer a hefty 44 ounce Super Big Gulp and even a Double Gulp that has a staggering 64 ounces of sugary liquid.
This holds true for fast food restaurants also. When McDonalds first introduced soda beverages in 1955, the only size offered was a seven-ounce. cup. Now it is not uncommon to find 32 ounce options which means an increase of about 300 calories and worse yet, at least 80 more grams of sugar.
The only way to effectively combat the obesity epidemic is to make changes in what is eaten and incorporating some form of exercise. When focus is placed on what will be beneficial for the body, better decisions will be made to help ensure healthy nutrition is received regularly. When these decisions are upheld on a consistent basis, a well balanced lifestyle will be the result.
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