Tuesday, August 28, 2007

U.S. Obesity Epidemic Continues to Grow

A new report released by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) revealed that U.S. obesity rates rose in 31 states in 2006. Twenty-two states showed an increase for the second year in a row. No states showed improvement in reducing obesity rate.

Read the report and check how (un)healthy your state is. >>

The report also finds that rates of overweight children (ages 10 to 17) are on the rise, too.

A new public opinion survey featured in the report also finds that 85% Americans acknowledge obesity is an epidemic. But why is obesity trend unstoppably going up year after year?

The government, health and fitness industry and media have spent tremendous amount of time and effort in raising the awareness of health, exercise, lifestyle change and weight control. Americans have poured in billions of dollars every year in diet pills , nutritional supplements , exercise machines, fitness gadgets and gym memberships. The results are terrible!

"We need a breakthrough in terms of policies and results," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are robbing America of our health and productivity."

The following is a summary of TFAH recommendations for combating obesity.

TFAH recommends a comprehensive approach for helping individuals make healthy choices including support from families, communities, schools, employers, the food and beverage industries, health professionals, and government at all levels. Some key recommendations include:

Think big. The federal government should develop and implement a National Strategy to Combat Obesity. This plan should involve every federal government agency, define clear roles and responsibilities for states and localities, and engage private industry and community groups.

Make healthy choices easy choices. Federal, state, and local governments should develop and implement policies that give Americans the tools they need to make it easier to engage in the recommended levels of physical activity and choose healthy foods, ranging from improving food served and increasing opportunities for physical activity in schools to requiring restaurants and food companies to provide better and more readily accessible information about the nutritional content of their products to securing more safe, affordable recreation places for all Americans.

Improve your bottom line. Federal, state, and local governments should work with private employers and insurers to ensure that every working American has access to a workplace wellness program.

Escalate research on how to promote healthy choices. Public health officials have identified a number of strategies to help encourage people to make healthier decisions about nutrition and activity, however, much more research needs to be done about how to effectively promote healthier habits.

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