For years, Americans have blamed those who are overweight on poor decision making, claiming that if they ate more nutritious foods and exercised more often than they could live healthier lives. What many people do not understand is that there are certain factors that we cannot control that impact our health. Weight of the Nation exemplifies how impactful our genetics, our DNA, our environment, what is marketed to us, what is put in the food we are buying are in influencing our health each day. In the past thirty years, obesity has become a national epidemic affecting over one third of Americans. As a country, we have engineered physical fitness out of our lives, with less than five percent of adults meeting the minimum guidelines for physical activity. Portion sizes have increased dramatically, causing us to eat on average six hundred more calories per day than in 1970. There is currently a strong disconnect between our sedentary society and the ways in which our bodies have adapted to the scarcity of food that generations of humans faced for thousands of years. Since the beginning of this epidemic, our DNA has not changed. Rather, it is the environment in which we live, the ways in which we have industrialized food, the lack of physical exercise that we participate in and so much more that have changed, leading us to the 150 billion dollar bill that we are forced to pay each year due to the consequences of obesity. It is time for public health to attack obesity from every direction because America cannot afford to postpone this issue any longer.
Most of us have heard some form of the “when I was your age, I walked five miles to school uphill both ways” speech...
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... gain, but I did not realize the true impact that it has. When food becomes an addiction, we underestimate just how hard it is to fix this problem. When it comes to smoking, drinking or drugs, one can quit cold turkey because these are not things needed for survival. We cannot just quit food. We need to eat in order to sustain life, so rather people must change every day for the rest of their lives to combat obesity. It can be said that some people are more prone to putting on weight than others, but there is more to the problem than just personal tendencies. The human species has been developing for years living in worlds where there was no excess food and suddenly modern society has changed what is available to us, but our biology has not yet adapted creating a powerful discrepancy between genetics and the current food industry, a powerful factor often overlooked.
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