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What Are the Main Causes of Obesity in America Today? 7 Possible Answers
Millions of Americans are considered clinically obese. Over the past 30 years, the number of obese children and adults has literally exploded in the US. Although these theories can be debated by experts and common people, everyone agrees that something needs to be done about the obesity problem.
What causes obesity?
Larger Serving Sizes
The “Super Size” mentality does not only belong to the fast food industry. It seems like many restaurants offer huge serving sizes for everything from a chef salad, to spaghetti and meatballs, to a steak dinner. Most people have been raised to finish everything on their plate and when someone puts a giant plate of food in front of you, you are more likely to try and finish it without even thinking much about it.
Americans are now used to eating larger portions per meal and that can translate into their own cuisine. There is a tendency to cook and serve larger meals at home as well. Going back for seconds and third helpings is also common.
Eat more Fast Food
Studies have shown that the consumption of fast food meals quadrupled from 1977 to 1996 and has probably grown more since then. Our increasingly busy society means that more people don’t have the time or inclination to cook from scratch at home.
The average fast food meal consists of foods such as: large hamburgers, large fries, chicken nuggets, pizza with many toppings, stuffed tacos, heavy milkshakes and sugary soft drinks. Many items are loaded with fatty cheeses and sauces. Yes, these foods taste great and are good to eat in moderation, but Americans substitute these foods for everyday meals.
It used to be that most people ate a fairly nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes they ended up at the fast food place. It seems that things have almost reversed themselves. For many people, at least one meal per day comes from fast food.
Lack of physical exercise
To maintain a healthy weight, eating healthy food is not enough. You should exercise on a regular basis. Now this exercise could mean going to the gym, playing a game of tennis, cycling around the neighborhood or going out for a brisk walk in the park.
Many people simply do not exercise at all, which contributes to their weight gain and ultimate unhealthy lifestyle. Many people have a mental block when it comes to exercise because it has been so long since they did it. It’s like exercise is almost a dirty word for some.
However, if you want to maintain or return to a healthy weight, this is a must. If adults do not prioritize exercise for physical fitness, then the children of today are condemned to repeat the same patterns of obesity in the future – this is not fair to them.
Many people struggle with low self-esteem or don’t feel good about themselves in general. These issues are often displaced in childhood and include thoughts that are often buried deep in the subconscious. These negative thoughts often lead people to overeat or develop food addictions.
Body image has become controversial due to the fact that super skinny models and actors are held as the ideal standard of beauty. However, many people cannot achieve this look and should not even try.
Everyone is born with a certain natural body type and our society needs to do more to teach young people and adults that all body types are admirable and valued. Now, this does not mean that it is good to be decent, but it does mean that we should be more sympathetic to those who are and understand their struggles.
After all, there is a fine line between simply being overweight and becoming obese. Any of us could cross a dangerously unhealthy area through bad habits. Feeling good about yourself, no matter where you land on the weight scale, should be everyone’s top priority.
Stress has been identified as a leading cause of many physical ailments, including obesity. When we feel stressed, weare more likely to turn to comfort foods that contain more fat and sugar.
Think about the last time you felt really stressed. Did you grab a healthy apple or open a candy bar and down it?
Stress is a part of everyday life, but more needs to be done to teach people how to control and manage stress with healthy, all natural alternatives. Eating donuts in the morning and a big sloppy hamburger at lunch may make you feel good temporarily, but eventually all that fat contributes to heart disease and diabetes. Being stressed and overweight is often a deadly combination.
Drugs and medication
Many medications that people take for common diseases and health problems cause weight gain. It can be prescription medication for things like depression, diabetes, sleep disorders, birth control and blood pressure. Some steroid hormones can also make you gain weight.
Often people do not feel that they have a choice but to take this medication, which makes them feel in a heavier body that they do not really want. More study needs to be done on how to reduce or prevent this side effect.
Genetics and family history
For some people (not many) being overweight is in their genes. If both of your parents are overweight, there is a higher chance that you will be too. While studies have found that there may be a predisposition to obesity among family members, this is not an absolute.
Even if you come from a family that is naturally heavier, it doesn’t mean that obesity just has to happen. Being fat or big boned is very different than being 300-400 pounds. Family history should not be used as an excuse to let yourself go.
With time, guidance, and effort, obesity in America can be conquered, but it won’t be easy or happen overnight. Each of us will need to examine our own lifestyles and take action to incorporate healthier eating and exercise habits into our daily routine.
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