THE MYSTERIOUS DISEASE
READY FOR A KICK IN THE GUT?
Here goes: obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide, especially in developed nations.
In the U.S., it is currently #2 and soon to surpass smoking as #1. In technologically advanced nations, the obesity rate has doubled since the 1980s. Doubled!
In the U.S., in particular, almost 60 percent of people fall into either the overweight or obese category. So, if one-third of adults are obese and one-third of adults are overweight, at least one out of every three people you know has a problem with this disorder.
In fact, the World Health Organization believes that obesity is one of this century’s biggest and most serious public health concerns.
Obesity is our bubonic plague.
So what are we doing about it? Millions of dollars are be- ing spent every year as we work to be er understand the signaling pathways and complex areas associated with the obesity epidemic. Some research findings have been promising, but there’s still a lot for us to learn.
What we do know is that where you live in the U.S. can affect your weight. In the South, 30 percent of people are overweight or obese; in the Midwest, 28 percent; the Northeast, 25 percent; and about 24 percent of individuals living in the West struggle with their waistlines. The culture, lifestyle, and types of foods people consume in specific areas have huge impacts on these numbers.
Obesity Rate for San Antonio: “The Second-Fattest Major U.S. City”
An article on MySA, has this to report about our own city:
Figures recently released by Gallup show that San Antonio has the second-highest obesity rate among major U.S. cities.
The survey shows more than 31 percent of San Antonians are obese, only a little less than a percentage point behind Memphis for the worst in the country among communities with more than a million people. The average obesity rate for the more than 50 metropolitan areas is nearly 26 percent.
The city of San Antonio announced in August that the obesity rate fell from 35.1 percent to 28.5 percent between 2010 and 2012.
Obesity rates also vary by ethnic groups. An article in a well-known medical journal called JAMA found up to 44 percent of non-Hispanic blacks are obese; 39 per- cent of Mexican-Americans; 37 percent of all Hispanics; and around 32 percent of non-Hispanic whites. In total, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of Americans are considered obese.
Another fact? It’s expensive to be obese. Whether you’re paying to try to lose the weight or spending money on medical bills due to related conditions, you are spending more than your normal-weight counterpart. This is par- ticularly problematic considering the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study showing that lower income and less- educated individuals, especially women, are more likely to be obese, compared to their higher-earning counterparts.
Even scarier, the number of children being classified as overweight and obese has tripled and continues to grow, with 15 percent of children in the U.S. currently falling into that category. Overweight children have increased chances of becoming obese adults and suffering disabilities and premature death, so there’s an urgent push to make kids more active and to teach them be er eating habits at an earlier age. An example of one such initiative is Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign (www.letsmove.gov), which aims to put healthier foods in schools and encourage more physical education and activities. Initiatives such as this are invaluable, because they go past statistics to start creating solutions.
Still, all of this begs an obvious question: what’s causing obesity?
Keep Reading >> Next Articles: DEFINING OBESITY