A public health crisis-Obesity in America

I am shifting my focus a little with this post because I am a little in shock after being away from my “bubble” in Williamson County.  I am in East Tennessee in a popular vacation area and the things I am seeing are giving me great alarm.

I have read and heard about the obesity epidemic in America and I have seen it first-hand the last few days in this vacation area.  There are people here from all over the country as well as from a few foreign countries and the incidence of obesity here among the visitors is scary.  I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but I do want to alert people, as if you don’t already know, that our country is in a crisis in more areas than the financial arena.

Americans are Fat!  I am fat.  We all eat too much and we don’t get enough exercise!  While a few of you out there are the exceptions to this, the vast majority of us reading this post are victims of the American way of life; high fat and caloric intake with too little physical exercise.

I am not posting any photos in this post; they would serve no real purpose.  What I am talking about you all know and see every day unless you live in one of those rare, extremely healthy places.

Here are a few statistics to know-my resources come from Obesityinamerca.org  a great site to see if you want to see the total picture of this issue.  Much of the other information comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.gov).

We need to make some changes now.  This issue is not just about us as individuals, but it also affects our productivity and our economy, especially if we are going to make the government more involved in the healthcare process.

Read on, and weep…

  • In 2009, no state met the Healthy People 2010 obesity target of 15%, and the self-reported overall prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults had increased 1.1 percentage points from 2007.
  • Over the past decade, obesity has become recognized as a national health threat and a major public health challenge. In 2007--2008, based on measured weights and heights (1), approximately 72.5 million adults in the United States were obese (CDC, unpublished data, 2010).
  • For 2006, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at as much as $147 billion (2008 dollars); among all payers, obese persons had estimated medical costs that were $1,429 higher than persons of normal weight (5). In 2001, the Surgeon General called for strong public health action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity
  • The overall estimated prevalence of obesity was 26.7%
  • Obesity prevalence varied substantially by selected characteristics (Table), with the greatest prevalences found among adults aged 50--59 and 60--69 years (31.1% and 30.9%, respectively), non-Hispanic blacks overall (36.8%), non-Hispanic black women (41.9%), Hispanics (30.7%), and residents of the Midwest (28.2%) and South (28.4%)
  • For both men (22.9%) and women (18.6%), obesity prevalence was smallest among those with a college education; overall, prevalence was greatest among those who did not graduate from high school (32.9%), with prevalences of 29.6% among men and 36.4% among women.
  • Among states, the prevalence of adult obesity ranged from 18.6% in Colorado to 34.4% in Mississippi. Only Colorado and DC (19.7%) had prevalences of <20%. A total of 33 states had obesity prevalences of ≥25%; nine of those states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had prevalences of ≥30% (Figure). In contrast, in 2000, 28 states had prevalences of <20%, and no state had a prevalence of ≥30%. In 2005, four states had prevalences of <20%, and three states had prevalences of ≥30%. In 2007, only one state had a prevalence of <20%, and three states had prevalences of ≥30%.