August 7, 2009 Jeanne Rust

Obesity: A Growing Problem

What a dilemma!  Now I'm reading in my local paper today (8/7/09) that despite the dramatic upsurge in obesity over that last 20 years, only 17% of all Americans thought obesity was a major problem.  33% claimed obesity was a minor problem and 49% claimed that it was no problem at all!

The CDC said that only one state, Colorado, has a prevalence of obesity of less than 20%.  32 states had prevalences of 25% or greater, and 6 of those states had 30% of their population qualifying as morbidly obese.  Statistics also show that almost 63% of all Americans, while not obese, are overweight!

These discrepancies make me wonder if I'm going crazy!  With a full 82% of the population believing that obesity is either not a problem or maybe a minor problem, I'm filled with a kind of hopelessness.

Education has always been thought to be the answer, according to 75% of the population.  This means that the nutritional educational programs that are in schools, health clubs, workshop programs at hospitals, girl scouts and boy scouts, and many other venues are either not working or are not bringing the kind of public awareness to the population that is needed for a change to occur.

On the same internet page where I found the today's article were five ads for different diets and treatments to lose weight.  We know that diets don't work.  It seems that education isn't working very much either.

I'd love to hear some suggestions from my readers about what would work!!  Does this mean that 82% of Americans, of whom 60% of those are overweight, are living in a world where they don't see overweight around them.  Are they becoming accustomed to seeing heavy people?  Is this becoming the norm?

The norm is fine as long as people are healthy.  But the potential for chronic disease such as heart disease and diabetes is increasing.  Many more young adults are developing heart disease risk factors and Type 2 diabetes.

I hate the thought of the government having to step in and tax candy and diet sodas because American people are either in so much denial or really don't care about what they eat.  This is what happened with cigarettes – and it worked!

Today's newspaper article was published by McClatchy Newspapers and syndicated to other papers, such as the Arizona Daily Star.