No one enjoys stepping on that scale.
Now, think of the entire country stepping on that same scale.
The CDC encourages us to imagine this in The Weight of the Nation, a HBO documentary following a group of New Orleans individuals as they make a difference in their community by transforming their school lunch menu with healthier, better-tasting options. Their mission has recently been coined, “The Great Cafeteria Takeover.”
Worth the watch, the film brings us to the well-known fact that obesity is a common, serious, and costly health problem, for adults and children alike. Just take a look at these statistics brought to us by The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, also found at http://stateofobesity.org/.
- 20 of the 50 states in the U.S. have an adult obesity rate above 30%
- At least one out of five people in every state is now obese, with a whopping 68.5% of all American adults at the overweight level.
- One in 10 children become obese from ages 2 to 5; about 5% of 6 to 11 year-olds are “severely” obese.
- In 2013, obesity rates rose in six states -Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming
- Blacks and Latinos have the highest rates of obesity nationwide, and Whites the lowest.
- 42% of Latino and 47.8% of African-American adults are obese compared with 32.6% of Whites. Childhood obesity rates among these groups follow a similar pattern.
This frightening data underscores our country’s desperate need for affordable healthy food, safe places to be physically active, and access to proper healthcare for all communities. It is essential for us as parents, siblings, friends and family alike to understand the epidemic of obesity; and it is crucial for us to see the life threatening warning for ourselves as well.
Steps to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
The State of Obesity report suggests strategies to address disparities:
- Ensure community-based obesity prevention and control strategies are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
- Increase the use of promotores (community health workers, peer leaders and health advocates) who more effectively connect Latino communities with public health services.
- Implement standards to limit the amount of advertising of foods of low nutritional value.
- Recruit grocery stores through grant programs to support affordable healthy products.
- Partnerships between government, businesses, faith-based groups, community organizations, schools and others to create healthy food access and safe places for physical activity in neighborhoods.
Involve local communities, and open up new ideas from the public by visiting the CDC here directly.
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” ~William James
To win we have to lose.