Obesity In America
Obesity in America is a common topic in the news today mainly because as Americans we are an overweight nation. We eat too many meals away from home, make poor choices from the menus, and are not active enough to burn the high calories that are consumed daily. Obesity affects everybody regardless of race, religion, or state.
Child obesity in America affects over fifteen percent of adolescents and children over the age of six. Adult obesity occurs in over one-third of all Americans. As a nation we are notorious for making unhealthy food choices which puts us at risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many other diseases. The easiest method to determine if you are overweight or obese is the body mass index calculator.
Why is obesity in America an epidemic? There are numerous reasons but the main causes are poor diet and exercise. Americans cook fewer meals at home than they did in the past which leads to a increased intake of high fat and high sodium foods.
The typical restaurant in America serves portions that are super sized and high in calories. Even ordering a salad would surprise you after checking the ingredients in the dressing.
Many people like to have a soda before their meal arrives and that sixteen ounce beverage starts your caloric intake at 194.
Many consumers are aware of food labeling and restaurants are required to make food labeling available to the consumer. You'd be hard pressed to find the labeling though. If it is a fast food restaurant you might find it on the paper insert of the serving tray.
The only problem is it might be too late since you already ordered your meal and you are probably in a hurry - that's why it is called fast food. So searching for the labeling is not a top priority.
Also contributing to obesity in America is the processed foods, deep fat frying, and other flavor enhancers used by restaurants. The biggest problem is the outrageous portion sizes that encourage the intake of empty calories.
Health risks associated with obesity in America
- Type II Diabetes
- High Cholesterol
- Liver Problems
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Heart Attack
- Psychological Disorders
Eating at home has many benefits aside from it is less expensive that ordering out. You control the types of foods being served and know the ingredients. You control the portion sizes and eating as a family gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together and bond.
Tips for healthy eating habits:
- Be willing to experiment by eating a variety of nutritious foods
- Provide three healthy meals a day and create a regular mealtime for the family. Afternoon snacks are fine as long as they are nutritious ( fruit or vegetables) and are not meant to be a meal.
- Refrain from eating after dinner. No midnight snacks. And never eat large amounts of food at once.
- Know your families serving size and provide just enough to satisfy their needs.
- Enjoy your mealtime as a family avoiding confrontation. Unnecessary stress at mealtime can lead to emotional overeating.
- Find creative ways of dealing with emotions avoiding food as a solution.
Establish a set location for food consumption in the home. Preferably the dinner table. This will avoid eating in front of the TV, computer, or bedrooms.
- Keep only snacks in the home that are high in nutrients and make them readily available. Wash and slice fruits and vegetables and be sure there is easy access to them.
- Avoid buying problem foods like doughnuts and cookies. If you do keep them in the pantry out of sight. Never use food as a reward for good behavior.
- Some people eat out of sheer boredom or because they were enticed by the food advertisement on TV. Learn to eat only when you are truly hungry and remind yourself that a snack is not a meal. In other words, eating a full bag of carrots is not necessary. But it is much healthier than a full bag of chips
Obesity in America is an epidemic that ranks second in preventable deaths right behind cigarette smoking. We are approaching the first generation in our history that will have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Changes in lifestyles, diet, and exercise are needed to combat obesity. Preventing obesity is much easier than treating obesity.
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