Twelve Domains of Culture: Obesity

Twelve Domains of Culture: Obesity

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The biggest health epidemic weighing down our great nation is fortunately preventable. This epidemic which cost Americans $190 billion dollars last year and the DOD alone 1.1 billion has many roots and causes, as well as preventative measures. If actively pursued this heavy burden of illness can be drastically reduced and prevented in our culture. This epidemic is obesity, and consumption is our biggest preventative measure to reduce healthcare costs and the disease burden from this illness on our nation.
Get America Fit Foundation states that obesity, a condition where your body mass index is greater than or equal to 30 percent is the number two cause of preventable death in the United States. Deaths as a result of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and complications of type 2 diabetes are the most cited. The mental health effects, sleep apnea and infertility issues caused by obesity, paired with reduced worker productivity and chronic absence from work cost our nation financially, as well as impair our efficiency in ways that are immeasurable. Our youth are some of the largest in the world; 17% of our nation’s youth are obese and are facing a generational burden of 60% of these affected children having one or more signs of heart disease by adolesence. Fortunately there are ways we can reduce this heavy burden if we are aware of the issues contributing to it.
American culture has become characterized by environments that promote physical inactivity and increased consumption of less healthy food. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service the average dietary intake of calories in 2012 was just under 2700 calories per person, per day. Compared to Americans in the 1950s we today eat 57 more pounds of meat per person per year, consume four times more cheese and drink 38% less milk – replaced with 1 in 4 Americans getting 200 calories per day from sugary soft drinks, 5% getting at least 567 calories a day, according to Harvard School of Public Health June 2012. Our lifestyles today emphasize foods of convenience, this driving force combined with increases in real disposable income, more assistance for the poor, and growth in away from home food options has resulted in our cultures rise of consumption in less healthy foods. This rise in consumption and variance in what we are consuming is unfortunately not being met with enough activity to expend all that we are taking in.

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We can drastically scale down this epidemic in our culture and its effects on our great nation if we are willing to follow a few simple guidelines established by the Center of Disease Control.
The CDC suggests that as a Nation we need to increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables, we need to increase our physical activity and the activity of our youth. We need to decrease the consumption of sugary drinks and promote a lifestyle of healthy choices to our children. Lastly we need to decrease consumption of high-energy-dense foods, which are high in calories and get back to healthy food choices in recommended quantities.
Our culture has become one of high consumption and low activity. The sad result of this is an obesity epidemic that is beyond simple illness. The magnitude of obesity due to our high rate of consumption affects our nation’s effectiveness and financial bottom line. Preventative measures of lowering our consumption, altering what we consume and increasing our activity levels as individuals, families and a nation are the fastest way to bring our consumption to an acceptable level of correct choices. Correcting our quantities and quality of consumption with drastically reduce our levels of illness and obesity in our great Nation.

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