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Originally published: 2014-03-31 10:37:24
Last modified: 2014-03-31 10:38:10

Epidemic proportions

In the United States, obesity is a serious, struggling health problem. Many people may not have put much thought into obesity as being a severe epidemic, but that is what it is becoming. With rates of adult obesity doubling and childhood obesity nearly tripling since the 1980s, statistics show that it is something that needs to be addressed more carefully. With obesity increasing among Americans, it is causing major strains on our health care system. 

Obesity, unfortunately, is responsible for more than 25 percent of health care costs today, according to healthyamericans.org.

Obesity and weight issues have been something that I, along with many others, have had an ongoing struggle with. It is a serious medical condition, not a lifestyle choice that people would choose for themselves. Not only is it bad in itself, but it also puts people at risk for more than 30 other diseases, one of which being diabetes -- increasing more than 70 percent in 30 year olds within the past 10 years.  

Something of this seriousness should have more awareness brought to it. During the past five years or so, there have been studies to track obesity trends and policies, and they have come to show that we, as Americans, are not addressing the obesity crisis with the importance and urgency it needs.  

In times of need like this, we need to be raising national awareness to fight obesity and support those who are crying out for help. We should do anything to assist, from charity events to daily physical exercise requirements in school and colleges, to keep obesity rates from staying on the rise. Not only would it help children in school with their weight concerns, it would also keep them from getting bullied for their personal appearance. 

Food companies commercialize food that looks good, but is bad for our bodies. How about those companies start making healthy food look and sound more appealing to Americans in order to promote healthier eating?  

Making available more support groups for those who need to be supported through the journey to making a healthy life is another option. Although there are some advocacy groups to raise awareness and help to fund research, there is always the need for more to provide the assurance that individuals can seek help.  

There can be many things done to halt the growth of obesity in America, but first and foremost, awareness needs to be raised in order to get more people on board and informed of the facts, such as those found at obesity.org.

If we were to stop the growth of obesity and see health improvements across the border, it would save up to $100 billion in national medical expenditures, according to treatobesityseriously.org. Addressing this subject more closely to have the public understand the financial and societal impacts will only have positive outcomes for our nation. 

Make obesity prevention a priority so we can all reap the rewards.

Anna Miller Boone