Obesity In America: Are We Losing the Battle of the Bulge?
The numbers are in and they indicate that America is growing, but not in a good way. Over half of the 50 states have seen an increase in their obesity rates during 2009, according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Things get even more shocking and serious from there, with Mississippi featuring the nation’s highest obesity rate for the sixth straight year (much to my chagrin, of course).
Along racial lines, the urban community has a very serious prognosis. Whites accounted for a lower percentage of the obese population in at least 40 states than did Blacks and Latinos. For instance, 9% of whites in D.C. were obese, along with 20.6% of Latinos and 34.4% of Blacks. Not surprisingly, adults with an income of less than $15,000 a year were much more likely to be obese in comparison to those who make over $50,000 a year—a fact that may have to do with the relatively higher costs of many healthy alternatives and the lower costs of fast food and other more harmful choices.
These dramatic warning signs have quite a few experts calling for better and safer infrastructure in our towns and cities, with more walkways and bicycle lanes in areas where traffic is diverted to make for better air quality. This would hopefully increase the number of citizens who walk or ride bikes to work. Is this actually a feasible solution for such a large problem?
Other possible solutions include more nutritional information on food product labels and community gardens which provide fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, absolutely nothing can beat the will of each individual to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as increasing activity levels and/or changing eating habits.
These issues are affectAmerica’s children, as well, and was the reason First Lady Michelle Obama launched the nationwide Let’s Move campaign. The initiative seeks to get children to be more active and also proposes changes to the quality of school lunches in order to promote healthier lifestyles.
With the right information and willpower, hopefully we can reverse this trend and take better control of our lives once and for all.
For the full obesity report, click here.
For more information on the Let’s Move initiative, visit letsmove.gov