Obesity's causes and repercussions continue to be topics of research and debate
Fries and pies aren’t the only reasons Americans are obese.
Salon recently unveiled five reasons Americans are obese, and while sugar substitutes and livestock fatteners made the list, the remaining three have little to do with real food products. The three are antibiotics, pesticides and marketing — yes, marketing.
“Americans have become huge,” Martha Rosenberg wrote on Salon. “Between the 1960s and the 2000s, Americans grew, on the average, an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier. The average American man today weighs 194 pounds and the average woman 165 pounds. The growing girth has led to the creation of special-sized ambulances, operating tables and coffins as well as bigger seats on planes and trains.
"Almost a third of American children and teens are overweight, but 84 percent of parents believe their children are at a healthy weight in one study. Why? The adults are probably overweight too. Still there are scientific reasons why Americans are blimping up and they aren’t limited to eating too much and exercising too little.”
Remember, three of the top five reasons Americans are obese, according to Salon, are antibiotics, pesticides and food marketing.
Mississippi was recently named the most obese state in the country, according to The Washington Post, with 35.4 percent of the state being overweight. West Virginia, Delaware, Louisiana and Arkansas rounded out the top five of that list, which was put together by a Gallup-Healthways survey. And obesity has cost effects, too, the Post said.
“Research has shown that the average health-care costs for an obese individual are over $1,300 more annually than (for) someone who is not obese,” said James E. Pope, chief science officer at Healthways in a statement, according to The Post. “Although slowing, and even reversing, this trend may seem daunting, even modest weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent of initial body weight can lower the health risks associated with obesity.”
"If you're rewarded with grades and success, then you're less dependent on fries and cheese doodles, frankly," said David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, to NPR. "And if your (grades) are not good or rewarding, you don't have to be depressed to be frustrated — and for your self-esteem to plummet. And food may be a solution (you turn to)."
So what are some ways to combat obesity? BBC News recently reported that researchers in the United Kingdom are looking at limiting the number of takeout restaurants surrounding workplaces, which will help cut down on obesity rates.
"Our research,” said Dr. Thomas Burgoine, who led a study by Cambridge University that looked at workers’ consumption of takeout food, “suggests that policies to make our neighborhood more healthy by restricting access to takeaway food might be successful.”
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