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America, I Love You, But You’re Fat

March 27th, 2014

The USA is wonderful. I love the great land, the beautiful scenery, the big history and the friendly people. I try to go to the States at least once a year but one thing that bugs me -- the same thing that bugs a lot of people when they visit the US -- is the inordinate number of obese people or the many “average just plain overweight” people you see.

It’s not just my perception, it’s a documented, statistical fact.

One Third of The U.S. Population is Considered Obese
The CDC reports that “more than one-third (age-adjusted 34.9%, crude 35.1%) of U.S. adults were obese in 2011–2012.” In actual numbers that meant “more than 78 million adults were obese.” It's an ongoing issue that has been known for a while: “most recent national data from 2011–2012 on obesity prevalence among U.S. adults show that there was no significant change since 2009–2010." 2

And it’s not going to get better in the near future, because...

Childhood Obesity Rises All the Time
In the last 30 years, childhood obesity has tripled. Over 15% of US kids are obese; not overweight... obese.

Figure 1: Trends in obesity among children and adolescents aged 2–19 years, by sex: United States, 1971–1974 through 2009–2010. Source: CDC
graph-1Note: Obesity is body mass index greater or equal to the 95th percentile of the sex- and age-specific 2000 CDC growth charts.

That means things are going to get worse in the future. Obese kids are going to grow up to be obese people. They’re going to be obese people who have no idea what it’s like to be thin... ingrained in their self image, it's going to be very hard for them to ever be thin.

75% of Obese People Aren't Obese

A study released in 2011 interviewed men and women who didn’t think they were overweight were 71 per cent less likely to want to lose weight, while 65 per cent of women didn't feel the urge to diet.3 Of course not. That’s just part of the problem, of course.

The problem is that obese people don’t think they’re obese. A survey by IFIC Foundation Food and Health in 2010 found that only 23% of obese Americans think they are obese. That’s less than one in five who have a grip on reality. That number pretty much watches up with other surveys.

A survey by The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that 88% of adults think they are in good or excellent health, even though nearly half of them were taking as many as three or more daily medications for chronic medical problems.

And again, this problem of perception extends to childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found in a survey that 50% of the parents of obese children don’t consider their children overweight, even. People latch onto the thinnest evidence to deny that there’s a problem that is not going away.

Are you depressed yet? There's more. NBC in 2012 quotes a Duke University study that shows that "the already obese are getting fatter. Severe obesity will double by 2030, when 11 percent of adults will be nearly 100 pounds overweight, or more." 4

This has been a growing problem that health experts have warned about for some time now. When it was predicted years ago, people denied it, they deny it's a problem today and they'll deny it's a problem ten years from now.


I’m looking at you America. Honestly, I love you but you are fat. And you really need to do something about it.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm
2 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db131.htm
3 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372310/U-S-denial-obesity-overweight-adults-dont-think-problem.html#ixzz2wivHad6e
4 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/47324248/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/no-end-us-obesity-epidemic-forecast-shows/#.Uy37XIWo3rs

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