Epidemic Obesity

The rate of increase in obesity in America is astounding. Using statistics from the Center for Disease Control website over the last 25 year, it is clear that Americans are getting fatter at an astounding rate.

In 1985 no state that kept records had over 15% of the adult population with obesity as defined by a BMI over 30%. In 1994 all 50 states reported data, and again none had rates of obesity over 20%. IN just 15 years, from 1994 to 2009, there were only one state, Colorado, and the District of Columbia that had less than 20% of adults with obesity. The US by 2009 had over 30% of adults with obesity.

This rate of increase in any disease can easily be called an epidemic. What is causing this epidemic is poorly understood. Really what causes obesity in general is poorly understood. There are many theories that include:

  • Busier lifestyles leading to more packaged food, more fast food, and less time cooking.
  • Less exercise in our daily routines as more time is absent at desks, behind the steering wheel, etc.
  • More high-fructose corn syrup in drinks and prepared foods.
  • Viral or bacterial infection with an as-of-now unknown organism (s) that leads to altered gut function, fat cell function, or insulin resistance.

Whatever is causing the obesity epidemic the consequences for the health of Americans is huge. Obesity recently became the # 1 cause of preventable death in America, passing tobacco use. This highlights the rapid rate of rise of obesity, and coupled with the decline in the rate of smoking has produced the change in positions.