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Obesity is on the Rise

by Bethaney Wallace on Jun 06, 2012

While one may not consider “being overweight” a disease, it is a serious health risk across the nation. Continuing to grow throughout the United States, obesity is considered one of the biggest health risks and concerns. Obesity, defined by excessive body fat or BMIs, can be linked to several other health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and more.

What’s the Cause?

People are consuming more and more unhealthy substances, and in a shorter amount of time. Sodas and artificial juices contain excessive sugars, and allow for empty calories to be consumed, without filling us up. While fast foods and unhealthy diets are certainly adding to the cause, the rise of obesity can be directly related to the amount of sugary beverages that are consumed by U.S. citizens.

For instance, a regular 12-ounce can of soda is loaded down with 100 percent of one’s recommended sugar intake, or 10 teaspoons. This is in addition to an average of 150 calories – calories with no nutritional value, which actually work to dehydrate the body and deplete it of important vitamins and minerals.

For those drinking multiple sugary drinks per day, their calorie intake is significantly increased just by liquids alone; this doesn’t take into account additional sugars and calories provided by food.

If we follow the “what goes in must come out” rule, the average sugary beverage drinker would have to work out for hours every day just to break even with their calorie count. The more sodas or juices they consume, the more time they would have to spend on the treadmill or lifting weights. However, most do not make up the difference in exercise. Over time, those calories build up, causing weight gain, health issues, and eventually obesity.

Then vs. Now

Back in the 60s, bottled sodas came in six-and-a-half ounce bottles; today their average size is 20 ounces, with many optionsthat are much larger. Decades ago, fast foods were not as easily available, pre-packaged foods were nonexistent (and later on fresh and healthy). In comparison though, today’s foods are loaded with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy preservatives – all which work to cause weight gain and lack of nutrition.

With all of these changes, the obesity rates have taken a huge hit. Need proof? A whopping 35.7 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese – that is more than one third. The lowest state, Colorado, still sits at 21 percent for obese adults. In comparison, the year 2000 saw nation-wide percentages under 30 percent, while 2009 had nine states above 30 percent. Now in 2012, 12 states have surpassed that number.

Due to changes in diets and behavior, more U.S. citizens than ever have been diagnosed with obesity. Through awareness, change in calorie intakes and exercise, and the reduction of empty calories, the country can work together to help bring these obesity rates back down to healthy levels.

To find out more about the anti-soda movement or to try a natural and healthy alternative to soda, head to