Obesity Epidemic Explained – Kind Of
Posted on July 5, 2007 Comments (8)
Graphic: percentage of population over 15 with a body-mass index greater than 30, for more see Wellington Grey
1970 – Americans ate an average of 2170 calories per day
2000 – Americans ate an average of 2700 calories per day
I don’t think most people know that. It does seem odd to me that so much effort is put into trying to come up with explanations that are much more complicated. Most of the complicated suggestions (usually some explanation that indicates it is some biology issue and not eating to much or exercising too little) don’t explain why there is an increase in the incidence of obesity over time – at least I don’t see how they do. It seems to me the base requirement for improving the health issue of increasing obesity is to have an explanation of what has caused the incredible increase.
I can certainly believe biological issues impact how easy it is to become obese or how difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight. But it seems to me the proportion of the population that is obese has drastically increased over time (or different regions of the globe with a similar genetic makeup) and the logical place to look for an explanation is behavior differences that created this change (not some biological issue that has changed). If 5% of the population was predisposed obesity in 1950 to obesity I can’t see any rational reason to think that has increased to 30% today.
Related: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. – CDC on Obesity – Chemicals May Play Role in Rise in Obesity – Drinking Soda and Obesity – Treadmill Desks – $500 Million to Reduce Childhood Obesity in USA – Food Health Policy Blog
Obesity (Purdue University, June 2004):
Weight- and fitness-related conditions are the second-leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in about 300,000 deaths each year. If current trends continue, obesity will surpass smoking as the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.