The Obesity Epidemic

Here is some useful information that I made for one of my homework assignments!!! This should make you really think about what you are putting in your body!!

Don’t forget=>    you ARE what you EAT !!

you also are what the animal on your plate ate!!!

Obesity Epidemic in AMERICA

Obesity rates in the United States are among the highest in the world, with 74.6% of Americans being overweight or obese.

  • Obesity currently results in an estimated 400,000 deaths a year in the United States and costs the national economy nearly $122.9 billion annually.
  • Childhood obesity affects more than 15 percent of the population under 18 years old that is classified as overweight.

What defines Obesity?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the term overweight refers to body weight that is at least 10 percent over the recommended weight5 for a certain individual.

Recommended weight standards are generated based on a sampling of the U.S. population or by body mass index (BMI), a calculation that assesses weight relative to height. In common terms, “overweight” refers to an individual with a BMI of more than 25. Of course, it’s important to remember that being overweight may not only be the result of increased body fat, but the result of increased lean muscle as well;

Obesity is generally defined as an excessive amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass7. In numeric terms, obesity refers to a body weight that is at least 30 percent over the ideal weight for a specified height8. More commonly, obesity refers to any individual with a BMI of more than 30.

Childhood Obesity

  • Approximately 17% of children and adolescents from the ages  2—19 years are obese.
  • Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

Ways to Help

  • Set realistic goals
  • Promote healthy eating and nutrient rich foods
  • Promote daily exercise
  • De- stress and seek help
  • Family support and stability

So what happened four or so decades ago?

Cultural changes, dietary changes and technological changes had a major impact on the evolution of obesity from then on. Americans, as well as many other countries, now live in a society that encourages excessive food intake, including non-food food-stuffs like processed foods and snacks, and discourages physical activity.

Overall, some of the the more likely causes of obesity are:

  1. The modern-day food system: It encourages eating big portions of high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, a perfect recipe for weight gain.
  1. Sedentary lifestyles: Generations ago people had no choice but to exercise; they did it for their very livelihoods or at least to get from one place to another. Today, many people sit behind a desk for most of the day, then get in their cars to drive home. Leisure time involves more sitting, either in front of the TV, computer or video game system.
  2. Stress and negative emotions: It is very easy to get caught up in using food as a security blanket, a distraction from boredom, or a way to cope with stress — and once you get used to using food to feel better, it’s hard to break the routine. Further, the stress response itself, encourages us to raise our cortisol levels which then makes us gain weight.
  3. Exposure to environmental pollutants: Exposure to low levels of pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents may make you put on weight.
  4. The make-up of bacteria in your gut: This is related to your diet, but if you eat a lot of sugar and grains, it can negatively influence not only your insulin and leptin levels, but also the bacteria in your gut, contributing to obesity.
  5. Lack of sleep: This disrupts vital hormones and proteins in your body, which may also increase your risk of obesity.

Processed and artificial foods may increase risk of obesity

So why is it that when people from other countries move to America, or when American influence overtakes traditional cultures, the result, inevitably, is ill-health? The answer is simple: food. Americans treat food as a source of immediate gratification. We want it tasty, we want it cheap and we want it now. To meet this demand, American manufacturers pump their food full of sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, preservatives, dyes, artificial flavors, and a host of bizarre, unpronounceable chemicals that, if you saw them in their pre-processed state, you would never consider putting in your mouth. Our food is almost unrecognizable as food.

These additives and preservatives often replace all the nutrients and fiber that is removed from the original food source. So while processed food might taste good, it essentially lacks all the beneficial nutrients needed to nourish the body, maintain blood sugar levels, and ensure proper digestion. In addition, the chemicals and synthetic ingredients found in many processed foods are foreign to the body. The body stores anything that the digestive organs can’t process, most often in fat tissue.9 Scientists have considered that this process may also contribute to the development of obesity.

Calories that have no nutritional value – such as those found in sugary soda and many fried foods – are called “empty calories.” Empty calorie foods are quickly broken down, causing blood sugar levels to spike. As a result, the body secretes insulin which leads to hunger signals, so you eat more at your next meal. Researchers suggest that these types of foods – highly refined, processed, and starchy – may be a contributing factor to our obesity epidemic.

Another factor in gaining or losing weight is the quality of the food you eat rather than how much you consume. According to a June 23, 2011 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, participants gained weight with the intake of potato chips, potatoes, sweetened beverages, unprocessed red meats and processed meats. They lost weight with the intake of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt.10 It’s another nail in the coffin of fast foods.

Fast-food is costing us our health and our money

Fast-food joints have not only come to dominate the American landscape, they are also the most visible American export around the globe. Unfortunately, fast food contains almost no nutrients and is loaded with added salt, sugar, refined flours, fat, and preservatives. The irony is that for every dollar we spend on fast food, and every second we save at a drive-through, over a lifetime we put ourselves at serious risk. These risks include huge, direct medical costs and the indirect impact of productivity losses due to illness and premature death associated with diet-related illnesses linked to a meat-based diet that includes highly processed foods laden with fats and artificial ingredients.

Here are some DISTURBING facts:

-Firearms will kill about 30,000 Americans in 2008, but obesity will kill two and a half times as many people.”

– “Since the 1970s, the U.S. obesity rate has doubled; two-thirds of our population is now overweight.”

– “Diabetes eats up one of every $5 Americans spend on health care.”

– “And today, a whopping 35% of our weekly caloric intake is consumed in restaurants. That’s up from 23% in the 1970s.”

– “At Outback, the Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing comes loaded with 2,900 calories and 182 grams of fat.”

– “In a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, consumers presented with obviously high-calorie restaurant foods still underestimated the nutritional heft of the items by an average of 600 calories.”

– “Eating 600 unexpected calories just once a week would add an extra 9 pounds to the average American’s weight each year.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO??

Eat foods that come from the earth not from a factory. It is as simple as that. If you can’t identiy where it came from, you most likely shouldn’t be eating it.

If you have any questions regarding diet/ nutrition/ cooking send me a message. I am a certified holistic nutritionist that would love to help!

skinnyfatkids.wordpress.com

Sources:

http://www.obesityinamerica.org/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/health/14obese.html

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States

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About Skinny Fat Kids

I am a fat kid at heart. I don’t start a day without planning a meal; whether it is cooking with friends or trying out a new spot. It might have something to do with being a Mexican/Italian.. Since I was young I loved to help out in the kitchen and was open to all types of food. I appreciate what cooking comes along with… Family, friends and times you will never forget. Food for me is something that you can make taste good even though it is healthy! People have no idea how easy it is to throw together a perfectly well balanced meal that provides them with all the essential nutrients one needs. Each of us have your unique genetic needs, tastes, backgrounds which can be factored into your food and nutrition plan. “Change is one constant in our lives.” You can rid disease and illness through food. Food is something people do not clearly understand. I strongly believe in cooking with local, seasonal, organic, and nutrient-rich ingredients as best as you can. It is essential to eat only grass fed dairy and meat because they provide more essential nutrients as well as high levels of vitamins. Having a garden and knowing where your food comes from is essential! I owe a lot to my mom who many can attest that she is a GREAT entertainer. She seems to always be having a “dinner party” and always throws together something delicious. My objective in this blog is to share my love and knowledge of food and cooking with all you peeps. I want to give you all ideas on how easy it is to eat healthy and make food taste good. I want the standard american diet to be something of the past… TBC
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