Researchers and fitness professionals across the United States have been saying for years just how dangerous and detrimental to one’s health obesity can be. In addition to making it harder for overweight individuals to perform basic everyday functions and exercises, heavier Americans have also been known to be at a much higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and various other diseases.
Although there has been some recent news explaining that childhood obesity rates across the country have been dropping, albeit slowly, which is encouraging news, doctors and scientists are in agreement that the nation still has a long road ahead on its way to wellness. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that, despite this good news, “There is considerable need for improvement”.
Obesity – More Cruel Than It Looks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also stated that despite a small downward curve among youths, obesity still accounts for 18% of deaths among Americans ages 40-85, an astoundingly high number in comparison to the rest of the world, with a nationwide obesity rate of approximately 34%. All numbers found through this research were approximately three times higher than previously anticipated. This news is quite sad for older Americans because, as said by Ryan Masters, lead study author and researcher of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “Most policy initiatives are correct in trying to target (people) early in life to try and stave off this (obesity) problem in new generations”. Interestingly enough, most of the heaviest states in the country were all from the same region, the South, with Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina all being in the top five.
Black Women More Obese
The 18% of deaths among those ages 40-85 consists of both men and women, black and white. However, the study also broke things down by race and gender, and found that black women were at the highest risk, with approximately 27% of deaths from this group being from obesity or similar weight related issues. They were followed by white women at approximately 22%, and white men at approximately 16%. It seems that black men are least likely to have problems with obesity, with only around 5% having deaths attributed to weight issues. According to Masters, not enough legislation takes this into account, “It's important for policy-makers to understand that different groups experience obesity in different ways.”
Clearly, not enough is being done to address America’s weight problems, especially if legislation passed does not take ethnic and gender distinctions into account. However, perhaps even more discouraging, is that despite the increase in days where children get 60 minutes or more of exercise, many of the country’s youth are still not eating properly. Ryan Masters had even more bad news, saying that “We expect that obesity will be responsible for an increasing share of deaths in the United States, and perhaps even lead to declines in U.S. life expectancy.” The US life expectancy, which consistently rose throughout the 20th century, has now had several stumbles throughout the 2000s.