Why obesity is still on the rise in the United States

Why obesity is still on the rise in the United States

Diet & Health

Do you remember the documentary ”Super Size Me” from 2004? In the movie, we follow the filmmaker Morgan Spurlock for 30 days as he lived by some pretty simple rules. He can only eat food from McDonalds, he must try everything on the menu at least once and he hast to eat three times a day. Oh, and another thing… if he’s asked if he wants to go super size, he has to say yes!

The original idea behind the movie was to check out if some of the allegations against McDonalds would actually hold up in court. Several consumers across the states had accused McDonalds of having a poor impact on their lives in different ways, and Spurlock wanted to see if that actually made any sense.

The documentary became a blockbuster, and then a cult movie. But it also raised a relevant question – why was obesity on the rise in the United States?

Still on the rise

Almost 20 years later, nothing has really changed in terms of the development of obesity in the United States. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s been a rise in obesity from 30.5% in 1999-2000 to 42.4% in 2017-2018, and there’s no signs of this development turning around. As a comparison, this number was only 23% back in 1962 when CDC started measuring. In other words, it’s the percentage has nearly doubled in just 60 years, and today more than 4 out of 10 Americans are considered obese.

But why are we seeing this increase in the obesity rates?

Fast food is more accessible than ever before

For one, fast-food is more accessible than ever before. Back in 1962 there was burger restaurants and pizzerias as well, but today you cannot cross a street without being able to spot a fast-food restaurant or takeaway, and it is getting increasingly difficult to find even a small town with no fast-food options available.

Also, it is not only the number of fast-food restaurants, but also the opening hours of those restaurants. Several restaurants are now open 24/7, and they serve different kinds of meals during the day – you can even find Burger King Breakfast Hours where the menu is different with all kinds breakfast offers. And don’t blame Burger King – the same goes for a lot of different fast-food chains across the United States.

Pricing

Another factor that’s worth taking into consideration is pricing. In general, fast-food is considered comparably cheap to other healthier restaurants, and everything else being equal, that means that more Americans would choose the fast-food possibility – either to save money or simply because they cannot afford to eat healthier.

Also, the option to super-size a meal for just a few cents or dollars extra is adding to the problem. Since it is that cheap, most consumers who can afford simply just say yes without thinking too much about it.

If we take a look at the stats provided from CDC, it is quite interesting to see how in general it is the middle class that has the highest obesity rates among the population. A reason for that could be that while the lower income groups simply cannot afford to eat on fast-food restaurants, while higher income groups have the option to choose differently without being too concerned about price.

Other causes

Fast-food is only a fraction of the problem. Going back to CDC, they point out several causes for the rise in obesity. Among the most important ones are:

Without diving into each of the causes above, it should be obvious that the reasons for the rise in the obesity numbers in the United States are diverse and complex, and blaming fast-food restaurants will not solve the problem. If this national health problem has to be solved, several measures will have to be taken into consideration.

Conclusion

As statistics are looking right now – and for the past 60 years for that matter – nothing indicates that the tables will turn anytime soon. That being said, the increase in obesity takes a huge toll on the general economy in the United States. As the number continues to rise, sooner or later the American Government will probably have to intervene somehow, so that this health care problem can get under control – otherwise, it can cause severe damages to both the economy as well as the general health of the Americans.

Behavior

Community environment

Genetics

Diseases

Without diving into each of the causes above, it should be obvious that the reasons for the rise in the obesity numbers in the United States are diverse and complex, and blaming fast-food restaurants will not solve the problem. If this national health problem has to be solved, several measures will have to be taken into consideration.

Conclusion

As statistics are looking right now – and for the past 60 years for that matter – nothing indicates that the tables will turn anytime soon. That being said, the increase in obesity takes a huge toll on the general economy in the United States. As the number continues to rise, sooner or later the American Government will probably have to intervene somehow, so that this health care problem can get under control – otherwise, it can cause severe damages to both the economy as well as the general health of the Americans.

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