Oh No! Adult Obesity Rates Still Rising

Rising obesity rates

Childhood obesity seemed to be leveling off in the US in the last year. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for us adults. 27.2 percent of Americans are now obese, a full percentage point up from last year.

To paint this stat more vividly:

  • 2.4 million more American adults are counted as obese this year
  • 65 million adults are obese
  • Every fourth person in America is obese

One would have thought that with all the attention paid in news outlets to America’s healthcare crisis, there would be substantial focus on disease prevention. What’s the number one cause of non-communicable, preventable diseases?

You got it, obesity.

Can obesity rates be reversed? Of course they can. But educating ourselves on how to eat healthier is not enough. There needs to be a fundamental change in our nation’s priorities when it comes to preventative health. How about creating incentives for farmers and supermarkets to sell fruit at half the price of potato chips?

As long as junk food and fast food are the cheapest option for an individual to access calories, we will keep seeing growth in our collective waistline. And health bills. Eventually, this system is going to break.

When will our politicians realize this is the number one threat to our national security and act accordingly?

Get Fooducated

  • Elliot Dole

    Does it seem to anyone else like the focus should be shifted more toward limiting caloric intake rather than eat this, not that? The crisis seems to be just as much one of overconsumption as it does about specific food choices. Of course certain foods contribute proportionately more to this trend, but many miss the big picture that the energy balance equation and thermodynamics aren’t just a good idea, they’re the law.

    In a culture where food companies are more than happy to offer seemingly healthy alternatives for our “snacker society” the problem of overconsumption just gets worse. The idea of just eating healthier foods does little to solve this aspect of the obesity problem. Replacing white bread with whole grain, red meat with fish, butter with healthy fat from nuts, etc., while in many ways beneficial in isolation, often exacerbate the problem if overconsumption is not addressed.

    Most struggling with weight loss issues want to know the magic foods to eat and miss the obvious, which is to eat less. Eating healthy foods while reducing consumption overall will certainly create the optimal, least unpleasant journey to a healthy weight.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Elliot, you make good points. However, calorie quality is as important as calorie quantity. Losing weight on a 1500 calorie a day Big Mac diet may lead to a skinnier individual, but that person will still be at higher risk for disease than one who eats healthfully.

      • Elliot Dole

        I’m in complete agreement. Fooducate’s doing a great job of helping folks make better choices. I don’t mean to minimize that.

        Limiting intake is the last behavioral change most dieters are willing to make, and food companies have a clear short-term incentive to keep them consuming as much as possible, even if it kills people in the long run.

        • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

          thanks!

  • Corey Rowland

    In response to Elliot, I think overconsumption is only a real problem when it is combined with a poor diet. From what I’ve experienced, as long as you are eating the healthiest of foods (in my opinion, whole, plant foods), overeating is not as much of a concern. I’m a vegan and I eat a very high carb, low fat diet. I feel great on it and I’m at a very healthy weight. And I don’t calorie restrict. It may seem like a limiting lifestyle, but I think if people were willing to give a plant-based diet a try, they would see how truly beneficial it is to their health.

    • Kelli

      I agree with this. It is much harder to over eat on foods that are not triggering that salt/sugar/fat craving.

      • Corey Rowland

        Definitely! When I eat enough fruit throughout the day I never find myself craving sugary stuff. And having a nice big meal (I like either a big salad or some steamed potatoes) for dinner doesn’t leave me craving the fatty or salty stuff :)

      • Raion

        Right- ever tried to eat yourself silly with Cauliflower or what have you? I think you’ll implode from the fiber and water retention before you’re even able to hit 100 calories XD

  • Lau_champagne7

    I agree with Corey, I keep an eye on my calories but not really, if i go to the farmers market I eat (not kidding) 4 pounds of strawberries in the same day, and they supposed to be have more carbs that I should consume in one day, but at the end they are just strawberries and is better than the people in diets of not eating carbs but eating a lot of fat, I think GMO’s are part of this problem, not only they are bad for your health, they also lack nutrients, people start their day with a bowl of GMO cereal with rBGH milk … First we should ban Monsanto like many european countries did, is hard to talk about health when the american diet is controlled by the biggest pesticide company in the world… Fooducate is doing a great job “warning you about GMO’s” but in my opinion this shouldnt be an option in the app it should warn everybody :)

    • Corey Rowland

      You can never eat too much fruit or vegetables :) carbs are energy!

  • star

    I think all natural and organic foods should be much cheaper because sometimes I’m not able to buy the healthiest foods…

  • Julia Adams

    I think junk food IS expensive. An apple is about a dollar which is less than a snack bag of chips. And many of the kids in my class comment on how yummy my apple slices look when they’re eating the snack their moms buy them – hostess cupcakes and cheese-its. Produce is cheaper especially when you consider that it is more filling and more nutritious. I don’t know what’s worse about a bag of chips – that half of it is filled with air (rip-off) and the other half is filled with grease (fat-on) and a family size bag is $4-5.

  • John Cserkuti

    Well I’ll be that guy.

    Lots of comments on the so called energy balance and vegetarian.

    What about low-carb? Grab your pitchforks people we have a heathen.

    You know what guys all of the current dietary recommendations should be scrapped. Not tomorrow, not next week, right now. They aren’t working (for the majority)!

    The focus should be on the individual and what kind of diet works for them.

    Does a vegetarian high carb diet work for me? NO! Absolutely not. I gain weight quickly on a high carb diet, not to mention cognitive issues (mind fog) and greater hunger.

    I am thriving on a low-carb diet (2 years and running). I eat 70% of my calories from fats (mostly saturated) and I do light to moderate exercise 3 times a week. I eat until I feel full and don’t count calories.

    This works for me, the standard recommended (300 gram carbs) diet does not.

    The argument that it’s all about calories in vs calories out ignores how those foods and their hormone response affect the body. Perhaps some of us react differently to insulin/leptin than others. Perhaps when I have glucose in my blood and insulin is released most of it will end up in my fat cells as opposed to my muscle cells. Is this so hard to conceive of when we see that certain people have life-threatening reactions to certain foods? Is it so hard to believe that a certain macro-nutrient will have different effects on different people?

    So what I think the advice should be is to tell people to experiment for themselves and see what works for them, not to tell them the diet A is the only one in the world that is healthy and all the rest are junk. Perhaps a period of 3 months is adequate to test any diet and evaluate if it will work long term.

    My second point is the impact of industry and their marketing. Advertising to children should be banned. It’s that simple. And sugar coating (pun intended) their products with health claims to win over parents is another issue that needs to be tackled. Perhaps a big warning label on the total sugar content per serving and an easy to understand (plain english) value for the serving size: how much is 50 grams, isn’t 1/2 a cup easier to understand?

    I don’t expect to have changed any minds here because the established advice has been so pervasive for so long, but I hope I’ve made someone think about it, especially the part about tailoring to individual needs.

  • http://www.drbeckyfitness.com/ Dr. Becky

    I have read down through all of the comments for this post and the thing that sticks out to me is that even in this group of educated individuals the “right way” to eat and control weight swings from one extreme to the next.

    People are so confused on what is the best way to eat because there is so much contradicting information out there. I think the missing ingredient is the ability to make healthy eating a priority in life. We lead such crazy, hectic lives that taking the time to research ingredients is the last thing we want to do (the fooducate app provides help with this), yet this is the work that needs to be done if an individual is to see real results.

    Yes, the obesity stats are not something for Americans to be proud of, and cheap junk foods are a problem, but if we wait for society to change, then the adult obesity rate is sure to keep going up. It will go down when more individuals find the motivation to say ‘enough is enough’.

  • http://www.drbeckyfitness.com/ Dr. Becky

    I have read down through all of the comments for this post and the thing that sticks out to me is that even in this group of educated individuals the “right way” to eat and control weight swings from one extreme to the next.

    People are so confused on what is the best way to eat because there is so much contradicting information out there. I think the missing ingredient is the ability to make healthy eating a priority in life. We lead such crazy, hectic lives that taking the time to research ingredients is the last thing we want to do (the fooducate app provides help with this), yet this is the work that needs to be done if an individual is to see real results.

    Yes, the obesity stats are not something for Americans to be proud of, and cheap junk foods are a problem, but if we wait for society to change, then the adult obesity rate is sure to keep going up. It will go down when more individuals find the motivation to say ‘enough is enough’.