In America today the obesity epidemic affects over 9.3 million adult Americans. Obesity can lead to dangerous health-related conditions like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and certain cancers. With obesity affecting so many Americans, it's shocking that more is not being done to prevent this problem. But how did American come to have such a large problem with a quiet killer like obesity? Let's look at nine reasons that might explain why America has such a problem with obesity rates.
1. People Stopped Moving
One of the biggest reasons the obesity epidemic has grown in the United States is because jobs have become increasingly sedentary. It has also gotten easier to be sedentary when you're not working. 20 years ago if you wanted groceries you had to walk or drive to the grocery store and buy your groceries. However, today with Amazon it is extremely easy to have your groceries delivered to your front door with a simple click online.
2. Millions of Ad Dollars
Do you think it's a coincidence that you can recognize numerous fast food logos? These companies are spending millions of dollars each year to get you to buy their food. Whether it's a billboard, tv ad, or even product placement in your favorite movie, these companies want to get your attention. By showing you an icy cold Coke being poured right before a movie
3. Human Nature to Crave High Fat Foods
Our ancestors had very active lifestyles because they constantly had to hunt for meat and scavenge for food. They were always on the move because food was scarce. Because of this, our ancestors needed to eat food that was high in fat to sustain them because they were burning so many calories every day. According to Dietetic Intern from the University of Missouri, Erin Kincaid, even though we have much less active lifestyles than our ancestors, we still are biologically drawn to high-fat flavors.
4. Unhealthy Foods Are Available and Inexpensive
The sad truth is that it's easier to get unhealthy food than it is to purchase vegetables, fruit and lean meat. Fast food places have drive-throughs and deliver, which make it extremely easy to regularly consume unhealthy food.
5. Cooking a Healthy Meal Takes Time
While eating a fast food place or restaurant is quick, easy and involves little effort, cooking a healthy meal at home is time-consuming. Chopping vegetables and cooking meat for dinner is often too much work for people when they come home tired from work. In addition, fruit and vegetables don't have a long shelf-life which requires multiple trips to the grocery store. All of these factors combined cause people to opt for easy unhealthy meals which can lead to high rates of obesity.
6. Fast Food is Cheap
High-calorie and unhealthy fast food is much cheaper than healthy meals. For example, you can get a full meal from McDonald's for just a few dollars while buying ingredients for a healthy meal is much more expensive. Unhealthy food is simply cheaper than healthy food. Eating a healthy diet will actually cost $2,000 more a year on average. The problem is that diets high in fruits and vegetables are much better at preventing obesity.
7. Weight Loss Companies Benefit From High Obesity Rates
With any epidemic, it's important to step back and think about who is benefiting from this. In the case of obesity, many companies are profiting off people who want to lose weight. Whether they're selling a fad diet, weight loss pills or a meal plan, all of these companies profit off of obesity. The problem according to Kincaid, is that these companies aren't actually helping anyone lose weight. Instead, they're getting tricked instead of getting healthy. A crash diet and weight loss pills may help people lose weight in the short term but they don't help people establish a healthy lifestyle and diet.
8. Grocery Store Set People Up to Fail
Although grocery stores are filled with healthy food, they're purposely designed to get people to make people more likely to buy processed food. Kincaid says grocery stores put the essentials like milk and cheese in the back so that customers are forced to walk down the aisles past all of the processed food. This makes people more likely to buy unhealthy food that they don't actually need because they have to walk buy it if they need to buy milk.
9. It Starts At a Young Age
Unhealthy food for kids often has better marketing than healthy food. For example, sugary cereals like Captain Crunch have cartoons on them and are placed at children's eye level. However, healthy foods like oranges and apples don't have cartoon characters associated with them and are placed higher up. This causes kids to have a strong association with unhealthy food that can lead to them developing unhealthy food habits.