One out of three adults in this country is obese, and about one in six of our children is as well. That adds up to more than 90 million Americans who are risking their health.
But if you are starving for good news, the percentages of obese Americans are unchanged since 2003. So while Americans aren’t getting any fatter, they aren’t getting any skinnier.
The average American adult is an inch taller than in the 1960s, but more than 20 pounds heavier — men checking in at an average of 191 pounds, and women at an average of 164 pounds.
As big as the problem is nationally, an eyeball survey suggests it’s even bigger in Robeson County, where we like our comfort food prepared by Paula Deen, she of recent diabetes type II fame. Rates are worse for minorities, and about two-thirds of Robesonians are minority. If you doubt the size of the problem, just take a look around.
Obese people are at risk for all kinds of health problems, but diabetes and heart disease top that long list. Then there are substantial quality-of-life issues. It’s more difficult simply getting around when you are carrying a knapsack of fat on your belly or hips.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity costs this nation about $150 billion a year.
We are a gluttonous nation, and despite a decade of warnings, this nation is not demonstrating a willingness to order the salad instead of the fries. Shamefully, our bad habits are being passed to our children with every stop at the fast-food joint.
As we age, our metabolism slows, so weight gained now is very difficult to get off later. It’s a good thought to recall next time you consider another helping of the meatloaf, or an extra scoop of Breyer’s.
It’s truly a national crisis.
We’ve all heard the excuses. There’s no time to cook, so we eat unhealthy food on the fly. We are too tired after work to spend 45 minutes at the gym.
On The Robesonian’s Health page each Sunday, two columnists — Kathy Hansen and Mike DeCinti — frequently offer sage advice on eating well and the benefits of exercise, so there’s no shortage of good information. Jillian Michaels, a trainer made famous by TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” nicely distills that advice down to this — eat less, move more.
Experts say if you take 10,000 steps a day, the equivalent of about six miles, then you won’t have to worry about obesity. They recommend attaching a pedometer to your body and counting the steps you take throughout the day, and adjusting as necessary by adding walks to your routine on an as-needed basis.
The next step is yours.