Obesity is a national health crisis that is constantly overlooked

Jordyn Sims and Delina Gebreyohannes

Obesity is one of the most overlooked and neglected public health problems in our country. Obesity is defined as “a long term disease which is characterized by excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to one’s health.” Weight gain, physical inactivity, and being overweight can lead to obesity which then greatly increase the risks of heart disease and various cancers- often times shortening or altering an individual’s quality of life.

The food people eat gives their bodies the information and fuel it needs to properly function. If it does not get the right information, a person’s metabolic processes can suffer and their health can decline. What causes a person to be obese? Most commonly, obesity occurs when a person is eating more calories than they are burning each day. Obesity can occur from other things as well. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health says, “a teen’s obesity can be caused by a combination of things. It can be linked to: genes, socioeconomic issues, how the body turns food into energy (metabolism), not getting enough sleep, and lifestyle choices. While there are many factors that contribute to this disease, it is a health concern that is growing at an alarming rate and puts individuals at risk. According to the World Health Organization, over 4 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Depriving one’s body from the nourishment that it needs will eventually lead to their body to shut down.

It is essential to have good nutrition based on healthy eating habits to enable you to stay healthy, active, and live a longer life. What exactly does healthy eating entail and how do you go about putting it into practice? For some, the goal may be to lose weight, for others to lower their blood pressure, and for others to simply live a healthier lifestyle. This change does not happen overnight. This is a gradual process that can begin with something as simple as selecting steamed broccoli as a side dish instead of french fries. Increasing numbers of Americans do not eat nutritious diets. In 2018, a national health and nutrition examination survey found that one in three Americans eats fast food on any given day. Moreover, both rural and urban Americans report that lack of time and access to nutritious foods prevents them from cooking healthy meals. Indeed, a 2017 study indicated that the higher prices of healthy foods – nearly double those of unhealthy foods – can play a role in the U.S. population’s failure to achieve a nutritious diet. These foods are low in fiber and vitamins and are high in fat, sugar, and salt. While many of the packaged foods we buy at the grocery store satisfy our taste buds, the way they are packaged and stored strip the food of the nutrients our bodies require, effectively eliminating your chances of healthy weight loss. They key to a healthier lifestyle are healthy choices in both being mindful of calorie intake and physical activities can help lessen the chance of obesity.