What a study says about obesity in America

What a study says about obesity in America

You may have read before that obesity in the U.S. continues to rise in America, but a new study says that one out of every two Americans will be obese by 2030.

The report in the New England Journal of Medicine says that women, African Americans and low-income adults likely will be hit hardest. The most recent Center for Disease Control and prevention statistics show that about 40% of American adults are obese, so the study prediction would mean a big increase.

This public health challenge presents unique challenges. Many low-income areas also have little access to fresh food in their neighborhoods. And advertising for high fat, high sugar, highly processed foods often targets children and minority communities.

The stakes for combating obesity are high because it can lead to a higher risk for heart disease and other serious health conditions.

“I am not surprised by the findings,” says Dr. Kevin Koo, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group based in Park Ridge, IL. “We cannot rely just on individual changes and recommendations from primary care doctors like myself. Combating obesity needs to be a societal priority.”

“Why do so many fast food chains target minorities?” Dr. Koo says. “Healthier foods also need to be more affordable and accessible for our under-resourced communities.”

While advice about losing weight is everywhere, the researchers acknowledge that “given the difficulty in achieving and maintaining meaningful weight loss, these findings highlight the importance of prevention efforts.”

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range.

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  1. I agree that fast food places target low income and minority communities which does place a larger strain on these communities. However there are many small grocery stores that offer fruits and vegetables in these communities also. The challenge is that when you’ve worked a labor intensive job and you are stressed and struggling with just basic needs picking up something to put on the table (fast) is one less thing you have to do. Verses coming home after 10 hours of work to start your next job of cooking cleaning etc. When we are making a decent salary and don’t have to work so many hours to make ends meet, then we have more time and energy to even consider cooking a fresh meal. This is a vicious cycle. And while I am definitely NOT and advocate for fast food as I do not partake, I do believe its not all their fault.

  2. Why aren’t they saying the most basic thing? That we can’t afford the kind of food that keeps you skinny. That high-carb, low protein food is what poor people can afford, and it makes you fat. And plus what Domenica said, the poor are working long hours at several jobs and cooking is much tougher, especially if you have kids. Bottom line: pay us more, work us fewer hours, stop advertising crap everywhere.

  3. Jo Linsley

    Excellent point, Janet. We should have included the cost of healthier foods in the article. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. A big problem among low-income individuals is that healthy food is often far more expensive in relation to the processed food. You can get a lot more processed food than healthy food for the same amount of money. Fast food, or course, is a problem, but so is the disparate costs of foods that are healthy versus the food that isn’t but is cheap.

  5. Good article! A few years ago i was shopping at a well known chain grocery. Several of the foods i normally by at my local store were unavailable, same chain, different store.

    I was shocked when the store manager explained to be, that this was a ” lower economic tier” store. Therefore fewer if any low sodium , sodium free, lite, lite products . Seemed like circular logic; “they” do not buy them so we do not stock them. Of course this was said to me in a hush, hush tone.

  6. A healthy diet can be very economical. Many cultures rely on modest, humble diets.

    We’re a culture of fast gratification and convenience. And we pay for it with our health.

    • Yes Giulia, so true! It doesn`t necessarily have to be expensive to eat healthy. What people need is education on nutrition, not food pantries full of free processed foods.
      Bananas and eggs and oatmeal are healthy inexpensive choices, just to name a few. Yes, we are a culture of “want it easy and convenient with minimal effort on my part”, unfortunately. Cooking at home doesn`t have to be a chore, it can be a time to hang out and talk with family (while cooking). Putting some effort into making the healthier food could also burn some additional calories, instead of waiting on the couch for the pizza delivery to arrive. I could go on forever…

  7. What isn’t mentioned is the politics behind it all, the US subsidizes all the farmed products that are grown or produced to then supply producers of processed products for a cheap price. If the whole food plant based products were subsidized all across the board than people may be more able to afford them, and it would make the processed foods more expensive.

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About the Author

Jo Linsley
Jo Linsley

Jo Linsley, a health enews contributor, is a freelance copywriter at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. With decades of experience in writing and editing, she continues to aspire to concise and inspiring writing. She also enjoys knitting and singing as creative outlets and for their meditative qualities.