• Approximately, 70 million Americans are obese
  • 50% of Americans are likely to get obese in 10 years
  • Taking adequate measures can prevent this epidemic

Obesity is the leading cause of death in the U.S., contributing to the loss of 300,000 lives every year. It is also the leading cause of several diseases including diabetes, heart diseases, stroke and certain types of cancer.

A recent study reports that about 50% of Americans are likely to get obese within the next decade. Although there are several effective interventions to prevent obesity, more and more people lack access to affordable versions of such interventions. Also, only a strong partnership with the food industry can help.

Being a highly stigmatizing condition, obesity is unfortunately blamed and shamed in society. Decades of research convey that obese individuals have an increased risk of several health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis, asthma, sleep apnea, and certain orthopedic issues. Also, being associated with systemic inflammation, obesity increases body pain as well.

Apart from this, obesity also places a very heavy burden on our healthcare system. Individuals with obesity-related health conditions require a lot of medications and enormous health care services. A 2017 study documented the rise in obesity-related medical costs in the U.S to be at $342.2 billion.

“The obesity crisis in our country is a problem that’s still growing. Solutions focused at the individual-level are just not enough. We live under environmental conditions that allow industry practices and systemic issues to override individual choices that prevent obesity,” The Hill quoted Dr. Robin Masheb, a professor and clinical psychologist at the Yale School of Medicine. “We need to prioritize legislation and regulatory practices that create healthier defaults in schools, supermarkets, and society at large," Masheb went on.

According to The Hill's expert opinion, here are the things we can do:

  • Obesity should be first recognized as a complex chronic health condition that needs a team approach.
  • Invest more money upfront on evidence-based programs to prevent obesity.
  • Weight stigma and bias in the country should be addressed.
  • Help individuals engage in positive change.
  • Systemic issues in our food landscape should be addressed by increasing healthy food choices in places like supermarkets, schools, restaurants.
  • Unhealthy decisions including sugary drinks and consuming high-fat snack foods should be discouraged.
  • The availability of healthy food and physical activity should be encouraged.
Obesity epidemic is on the rise taniadimas, Pixabay