It’s Time to Trim the Fat

The topic that I picked for this post probably effects our culture than any other. Obesity is a serious problem that causes hardships for millions of Americans. The following are just a few statistics that are provided in the Child Development Text and a couple of credible websites:

-Currently, nearly a quarter of North American children are over weight (Child Development Text).

-One tenth of U.S. youngsters are considered obese (Child Development Text)

-Obesity is a great risk factor for heart disease, several forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes just to say a few (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html).

-Less than a third of U.S. adults are at a healthy weight (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/)

Obesity not only only takes a toll on our physical health, but it also effects us economically. Here are just a few numbers that I found to be interesting concerning obesity and health care costs. Most of following stats here represent the estimated economic cost of overweight and obesity in he U.S. in 1995 and then updated to 2001 dollars (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/#econ):

-Total cost = $117 billion

-Direct Cost (Direct Costs are defined as costs to prevent, diagnose, and treatment.) = $61 billon

-Indirect Cost (Indirect costs are defined as the amount of wages lost due to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability, also it includes the future earnings lost because of premature death.) = $56 billion

If you look at the numbers you can determine that obesity really does effect a lot of us.

I’ve only shown the light on a few elements concerning the matter. There are many effects of obesity, including health and economic problems. This problem can be best explained through a sociological stance. The Child Development Text provides the example of industrialized China, in which obesity was a non-issue a generation ago, currently 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight and 3 percent are obese. In my last post I mentioned that I served an LDS Mission in South Korea and again I would like to add some observations that I had while I was there. During the war stricken 1950s, food—let alone high nutritional food—was in very short supply and the Korean nation had to depend on what little was available at the time. Nearly six decades have have passed since then and now little South Korea is a world economic superpower. They now have the same resources and fast food places we have in the United States. I could really tell which generations were which. You had the “older” generation, who due to the lack of nutritious foods and years of manual labor had stunted growth and a much more visible skeletal structure. Then you had people who ranged in ages from their mid-twenties to their forties, who for the most part were trim, exercised regularly, and ate well balanced meals. But when you looked at the youngest generation made up of children and young adolescents, I saw that a greater number among them that were overweight and they also tended to eat fattier foods than their older counterparts. I really believe that in the current culture of video games, television, better technologies, lack of exercise, and higher abundant fattier foods, younger generations in both the U.S. and South Korea will have ratios of overweight and obese people.

Again I’ve only touched the surface of this matter. Not only do our habits effect whether or not we will be overweight or even worse, suffer from the effects of obesity. This problem can also be brought upon genetically but in a lot of cases it doesn’t. Now is a time for change and awareness. This is a disease that, for the most part, we bring upon ourselves.

-James Frost

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~ by kersey3 on September 20, 2009.

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