September 30, 2012
America's Obesity Epidemic
Obesity in America is now the second leading cause of preventable death (Courtemanche, 2009). The numbers are quite real and frankly very concerning. Some 50 million are obese and 300,000 die from health related issues, linked to obesity, every year (Rubinstein, 2003). “The past twenty years, the United States has experienced an unprecedented rise in its residents body weight, 1980 fewer than 47% were overweight now more than 60% are and 27% are obese” (Oliver & Lee, 2005). Type 2 diabetes, once never present in children, is now on an incline. What has happened in society that has brought about this change and is it merely the result of one factor or many? Obesity is now a very real concern for American families because of processed foods, technology, and face-paced lives. To truly understand the problem that America now faces let’s take a look back 40 some years and look at the way families ate. It was not uncommon in the ‘50s for the families to be gathering around the table and discussing the day’s events at dinner time. Mothers were often home to take care of the children and oversee what it was they were consuming because quite simply-they had the time. By ‘60s and ‘70s things were beginning to change, not only at home, but also in the food industry. The women that once took care of their children were now seeking jobs outside the home and this left little time to deal with all the responsibilities they once did. Families were on the “go” and the idea of eating out became more appealing or the home cooked meal was replaced with unhealthy convenience foods. Journalist Greg Critser (2004) speaks of the claims by USDA, “The American dollar spent on “food away from home” was 25 percent in 1970, 35 percent in 1985 and 40 percent by 1996” (p.32). The society we live in today is much different than that of the early...