Why Are We So Fat?


Amer­i­cans are true heavy­weights, and no, that’s not a good thing. Stud­ies sug­gest some­where in the neigh­bor­hood of 35% of Amer­i­can adults are over­weight or obese. Esti­mates place child­hood obe­sity lev­els around 15%. Weight-related issues result in health costs of nearly $147 bil­lion per year. And it’s only get­ting worse.

How did things get this out of hand? Is this the price we pay for liv­ing in a land of plenty? Most experts believe that the cur­rent obe­sity epi­demic is the result of a sim­ple three-part process:

Step One

Amer­i­cans eat way too much. We eat big­ger por­tions and we eat more times dur­ing the day. Some of us are almost con­stantly eat­ing. We con­sume food in our cars, at out desks at work, and just about any­where else we go. Fast food restau­rants ped­dle big­ger por­tions for cheap and we eat them up. Amer­i­cans love a good deal.

Step Two

Amer­i­cans are not only eat­ing more, but most of what we’re eat­ing is ter­ri­ble for us. We shovel down processed foods that are loaded with fats, car­bo­hy­drates, and preser­v­a­tives. It’s not com­pletely our fault. Fast foods are cheap and avail­able 24 hours a day seven days a week. They’re quick and con­ve­nient, and we don’t seem to be able to resist.

Step Three

Things might not be so out of hand if Amer­i­cans were active enough to off­set their caloric intake. Unfor­tu­nately, we’re not. Many of us hun­ker down in front of com­put­ers all day at work, then come home to hun­ker down in front of our tele­vi­sions. Chores that used to be a work­out, like mow­ing the lawn can now be accom­plished while sit­ting down. Cars have made it eas­ier to get where we need to go, but they’ve also facil­i­tated lazi­ness by cut­ting down on how much time we spend walk­ing. It all adds up to big­ger waistlines.

In short, Amer­i­cans eat way too much, too much of what we eat is bad for us, and we aren’t active enough. Not to be a wet blan­ket, but we need to get this turned around or we’re all going to wind up pay­ing for it, even if it’s just in the form of higher health care costs.