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How Can We Fight the Obesity Epidemic?

, How Can We Fight the Obesity Epidemic?

In the United States, where healthcare resources are already strained by a disproportionately large segment of the population (aging baby boomers), the obesity epidemic may prove to be an even more serious long-term problem. Though obesity does not kill as quickly as other serious health issues, the obese are at much higher risk for Type-II (adult onset) diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. This has the potential to deplete healthcare resources while simultaneously sending baseline prices for health insurance premiums into the stratosphere.

Simply put, the obesity epidemic slowly emerged from exercising too little while eating too much. Other factors, such as the emergence of technology that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and cheap, high-calorie mass-produced foods with little nutritional value, have accelerated the process. Genetics also play a role, but a predisposition toward obesity does not account for the steep rise in obesity among all age groups, as well as the fact that each successive American generation has been heavier than the last. A recent study conducted by Dr. Cynthia Ogden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that 31% of American adults and 15% of American children are obese, and the trend does not appear to be slowing down.

Compounding this fact are the endless nutritional studies that seem to offer conflicting data regarding what foods actually promote proper weight management and overall public health. Many of these nutritional studies have been bankrolled by producers and distributors of certain foods, and these people often have a vested interest in ensuring that their products succeed. Data may be omitted or manipulated in such a way that consumers may be left with the impression that unhealthy foods are safe to consume even in large quantities. An independent body of nutritional research is an absolute necessity to combat this data mismanagement. One of the largest obstacles for such a movement, however, is the fact that in order to establish how healthy a certain food is, scientists must include it in the diet of a large number of subjects for several years. This may sound easy, but to minimize the risk of outside factors, the subjects’ diets must be controlled quite rigidly. As one might imagine, getting a large number of people to eat the same diet for years to establish the health profile of a single food is a massive undertaking, one in which nutritional deviation can severely skew the results.

On a personal level, people can fight the obesity epidemic by making preventive lifestyle choices. Substituting whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for sugary or salty processed foods can make an enormous difference. Proper hydration and plenty of rest will further ensure that the body will retain optimal metabolism for processing nutrition. Other preventive lifestyle choices include regular periods of cardiovascular exercise (3 times per week for 30 minutes or more). Strengthening the heart while maintaining a healthy weight will minimize the risk for the further draining of healthcare resources by developing cancer, heart disease, or adult onset diabetes through obesity. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, has prompted U.S. small business owners to launch a wave of health initiatives designed to combat obesity through mandatory corporate physicals. Should employees not meet the physicians’ expectations for a healthy lifestyle, they may lose their company’s health insurance coverage.

How else can we reduce effects of obesity other than that was mentioned ?

healthcare resources, preventive lifestyle, health insurance, obesity epidemic


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