Diary of a Madman: Obesity in America

 

A while back I wrote the following blog and I thought it time to revisit the issue and update some data for everyone. Stats can be found at the website for the Center for Disease Control.  www.cdc.gov.  I will tell you this, and I think it indicative of part of the problem, but I had to hunt for stats on this.  This stuff gets buried and people don’t want to talk about it. We need to address it head on. 

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One out of every three Americans is now considered to be obese, and during the early 21st century, America often contained the highest percentage of obese people in the world.  The highest percentage!  What!?  As one of the world superpowers…one of the most industrialized and wealthiest countries on the planet…and we somehow have allowed ourselves to be the most fat!  Not good.  Until 2013, the United States had the highest percent of obese people for large nations. Then, Mexico surpassed us.

Stats through 2014 show:

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight
  • Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults.

The map below tells a sad sad story…

  • No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
  • 5 states and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity between 20% and <25%.
  • 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and <30%.
  • 19 states had a prevalence of obesity between 30% and <35%.
  • 3 states (Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater.
  • The Midwest had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.7%), followed by the South (30.6%), the Northeast (27.3%), and the West (25.7%).

My point here is to bring awareness. Many of you reading this are already beginning to transform or have been leading a healthy lifestyle…so not all of this applies. The point is we all know someone suffering from obesity, child or adult. We all do.

I was one of those guys and it took a long, long time for me to recognize the dangers to not only myself, but what it was doing to my family.  As a “Previously Fat Guy” I know how it feels to be around those more fit than me, people who could buy regular sized clothes, or were confident to get in the pool, or tuck in their shirts! (Rosie O’Donnell said once, “Confident people tuck!”). Not a fan of Rosie, but those words hold true.  When you feel good about yourself you do things that represent that.  Tucking my shirt in was a big one for me.  It meant I was making progress on my fat loss journey.  It was more telling than the scale in my own opinion.  I also measured progress by the holes on my belt.

However, many people stuck in that obese category feel trapped and most will tell you they are lonely, as well.  That doesn’t even address the myriad of health issues, the uncomfortable aches and pains, and embarrassing situations that come along with being obese.  If you are lucky nobody pokes fun at you to your face but obese people are a target and that does not help one’s self -esteem.  Trust me.   I went many years not wanting to look in a mirror because my face was fat. Try shaving with no mirror – I switched to an electric razor to solve that problem. Instead of dealing with my weight and health, I switched razors…nice. 

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This is a very preventable issue and I hope people can see that if I can get up and decide to make a change for the better, others can to.  It’s not easy, in fact it’s hard…very hard.  But oh, so worth it.  So I ask a few things of you here…

  1. Encourage someone to start making healthy lifestyle choices…whatever they maybe…anything is a step in the right direction.
  2. Educate yourself a little bit on the causes and solutions for obesity.
  3. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns with someone you know or love who is suffering.  Many obese people are intimidated to ask for help and feel trapped and are waiting for someone to give them the nudge they need to make a change.

Jeffrey

“Previously Fat Guy”

 

 

 

 

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