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Are Americans Complacent About Obesity?
Are people today more complacent about being overweight or obese?
Tis the season for dieting and a recent study reported that fewer Americans are on a diet. With obesity rates in this country at an all-time high, are attitudes and perceptions of being overweight shifting? In 2012, approximately 20% of adults were on a diet, down from 31% in 1991. Women account for the largest decline down from 34% to 23%. So, just what has happened in the last 20 years?
Some of you may be thinking, ‘attitudes have shifted to greater acceptance of our bodies’ or ‘people are not trying to deprive themselves anymore’. One could speculate that rather than dieting, people are making lifestyle changes and eating healthy, not using the word ‘diet’. Although those ideas have sound reasoning, we must remember that this country is facing a major obesity problem.
If the new dieting statistics were paralleled with a lower percent of overweight citizens- I’d be happy! But let’s face it- more than 65% of Americans are overweight and that number has only been climbing. To put it in perspective, you get on an elevator and ride up with 10 people. Theoretically, at least 6 of them are overweight or obese. In fact, you might not be able to squeeze that many overweight people on the elevator. Anyway.
So what does the increase in obesity and the decrease in dieting mean for Americans?
– Expectations for results
o People might be giving up on weight loss because the results are not dramatic. When they don’t lose 5 pounds a week, they give up after 2 months.
– Attitudes of being overweight
o People might view being overweight as less unattractive. Sorry for the double negatives: people might NOW be more attracted to overweight individuals
– Lazy or Complacent
o People might be less active and less likely to take an interest in their health. Sedentary + chronic junk food consumption = status quo in US.
We are certainly not blaming anyone that is overweight to being lazy. It’s just interesting to look at the paradigm of lifestyle choices and the statistics as a result of this shift. People’s habits, therefore thoughts are changing. Unfortunately, the cost is far reaching beyond the attraction of other individuals. I’m referring to the $190.2 billion total healthcare cost estimated for obesity.
So, do you agree that perceptions are changing? What do you think of people in your communities and social circles- are people around you still dieting? We want to hear from you! sls
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American Heart Assoc.