In the 1960’s, only 13 percent of the population was obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Remember this is just obesity we are talking about, and does not include those who are in the overweight category.)
Just 50 years later, the obesity rate was 36 percent. An article published the other day in the USA Today indicated that the obesity rate could top 42 percent by 2030 if the rising trend continues at the same pace.
Although there were a lot of good statistics in the article about the cost of obesity in America and the medical problems associated with obesity, what I found very interesting was this statement from one of the study authors, Eric Finklestein.
[The obesity] estimates assume that the environment that promotes obesity in the USA has neared a peak. The country “is already saturated” with fast-food restaurants, cheap junk food and technologies that render people sedentary at home and work, he says. “We don’t expect the environment to get much worse than it is now, or at least we hope it doesn’t.
Are we finally saturated with fast food restaurants, cheap food, and the technology that encourages us to be completely sedentary?
Think about it. In the early 1960’s there were not fast food restaurants on all four corners of a busy intersection, there were not garage door openers installed on every garage door so you did not even need to get out of your car, and there were not nearly the abundance of convenience foods that now crowd the grocery store shelves. Additionally, computers weren’t around, video games were of course non-existent, and kids and adults were more physically active.
I am not an intellectual, but I certainly see the cause and effect here between the increase in the availability of junk foods, the advent of some technologies and the obesity rate. The question to me is this: Is this as bad as it gets in terms of obesity?
The study authors seem to think not because they do predict an obesity rate rising another 6 percent over the next 18 years even if we are at the saturation point for unhealthy restaurants and technology.
People who are at a healthy weight are in the minority these days, with over 60 percent of Americans being either obese or overweight. As more and more people struggle with their weight, the perception of what is normal and healthy often shifts. This is one reason that I see for the obesity rate possibly climbing over the next several years – because we all become more and more accustomed to seeing an overweight person as normal and possibly take less action to keep our own weights at a healthy level.
When overweight and obesity become the new normal, then it becomes easier and easier for us to throw our hands up in the air and give up. After all, why fight to get to a healthy weight when the majority of people are not at a healthy weight and eating unhealthy, junky food is easier than preparing healthy meals with natural ingredients.
I want to tell you why not to give up the fight and to never stop spreading the message that getting to a healthy weight is worth every struggle you will endure.
Your health and the health of the children.
I’d encourage you to resist seeing overweight and obesity as the new normal and continue in your journey to turn back the tide of obesity. People always ask me if the struggles I had with losing 150 pounds were worth it. I give them an unequivocal “yes” because as hard as it might have been to say no to chocolates or chips, it was a thousand times harder to break my dining room chair, struggle to breathe, or feel like a beached whale when I sat on the floor.
Do you see the “new normal” being a contributing factor to the projected increase in obesity over the next decade? Diane
Please visit my post over at Attune Foods where I talk about Mystery Foods – great comments over there! Thanks so much!