Countless organizations in the United States have made effort upon effort to educate Americans on the health risks and side-effects of a higher than normal body mass index. However, researchers have determined through two new studies that the efforts have made little if any impact.
For more than a decade now, the rate of American adults that are significantly overweight have stayed pretty much the same. Some groups, particularly non-Hispanic black women and women of Hispanic origin, have actually seen an increase since 1999.
Even more disheartening is the bigger ratio of children that are now considered to be significantly overweight – 18.6 of boys between the ages of two and 19 and 15 percent of all girls fit into this category. And again, the rates are higher for non-Hispanic black children and teens as well as Hispanic children and teens when they are compared to Caucasian children.
Thankfully, the rates are not increasing, for the most part, which means that other reports that have suggested an exponential increase have been proven wrong, for now. Unfortunately, this is really the only positive aspect of the whole situation. Massive health care costs for treating weight-related conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease are now competing with the cost of treating health conditions related to smoking – a shocking $147 million dollars each year.
But even more than the health costs, an increased body mass index can decrease the quality of life for both adults and children. Play, exercise, even standing or getting up from a chair can be more complicated, difficult and even exhausting for some. Decreased productivity because of lack of energy or the amount of effort it takes to perform simple tasks can also deplete the quality of life for children and adults.
So what can be done to turn things around? Unfortunately, the solution isn’t as simple as some may think. First of all, there is the fact that doctors are now starting to believe that added weight can start as early as pregnancy or infancy for children. Add that to the constant on-the-go lifestyle, the accessibility of foods that are not healthy, the fact that healthy food often costs more than not-so-healthy food and so much more, and it isn’t hard to see why America struggles so much at keeping its weight issues under wraps.
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