Hungry? Why waste time preparing a meal when you can drive down the street and order from the dollar menu? Or you can visit the all-you-can-eat buffet and take advantage of the dinner special. How about that Chinese restaurant that delivers for free? Surely there is no need for Mom’s recipes when you can find “home-style” cooking in the freezer aisle at the grocery store! With so many fast food choices out there, it is no wonder why Americans are overweight. In our society, convenience trumps health-consciousness. As a result, the battle against obesity and heart disease is a losing one, and we have the blue “first prize” ribbon for most obese country in the world to show for it.
The key to physical fitness is diet and exercise, which follows a basic system: calories in, i.e. foods and beverages, and calories out, i.e. physical activity. In order to lose weight, calories out must be greater than calories in. Unfortunately, with the American diet becoming fattier each year and daily physical activity declining, obese Americans are quickly becoming the norm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33% of American adults are obese. In the past year, adult obesity rates have increased in 16 states and decreased in none (“Obesity and Overweight”).
There are a few ways to determine obesity. The most common method is to measure weight and height in order to calculate a Body Mass Index. Adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, adults with a BMI of over 30 are considered obese, and adults with a BMI of 40 or greater are considered morbidly obese (“What is Obesity?”). To further track the rate of obesity, numbers have been divided up into multiple categories: region, race, education, and income.
Obesity is most prevalent in the Southern states. Mississippi has had the highest adult obesity rate in the country for seven consecutive years. In 2000, no state had an obesity rate exceeding 30%. In 2011, twelve states have an...
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