Obesity is America's most serious epidemic. Over the next twenty years, obesity is predicted to become the number one health problem throughout the world. Today, 134 million Americans, more than two-thirds of the United States population, are considered overweight or obese.
Obesity is the excessive accumulation of fat that exceeds the body's skeletal and physical standards. Morbid obesity occurs when the excess weight reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions that may cause significant disability or death. Morbid obesity is the contributing cause of many other diseases that affect every organ system. There are several factors that contribute both directly and indirectly to obesity. The Center for Disease Control identifies three main causes of obesity:
Science has been able to show that genetics plays a role in obesity. Genes can cause certain disorders that result in obesity. However, not all people who are predisposed to obesity become obese.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it has become much easier to adopt unhealthy behaviors. In the case of obesity, behavior relates to an individual's food choices, the serving size they consume, the amount of physical activity they get, and the effort put towards maintaining their health.
As the American serving size continues to increase, so has its waistline. Americans are now consuming more calories on average than in past decades. However, they're not expending these calories with enough physical activity to burn them off. Physical activity is an imperative component to controlling and maintaining a person’s behavior and weight.
In addition to the increase in serving size, modern conveniences have made it to so incredibly easy to eat that there is no longer a need to go grocery shopping and cook. With plentiful fast food restaurants, drive throughs, ready-made foods, vending machines with junk food, and other modern conveniences, it's as if Americans no longer need to put any effort into preparing a meal.
An individual's surrounding environment plays a key role in shaping their habits and lifestyle. Health decisions are influenced by their surroundings. In the modern-day American society, everything has become much more convenient and allowed Americans to live a more sedentary lifestyle. Walking has been replaced by driving cars; physical activity has been replaced by technology; and, nutritional choices have been overcome by convenient fast foods and ready-made foods.