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Why Does Obesity Epidemic Prevail in United States?

Posted Jun 05 2009 3:07pm
In general, people gain weight because of over-eating or a lack of exercise or both. At an International obesity conference in Amsterdam held on March 8, 2009, researchers from the health faculty of Australia's Deakin University cited over-eating as the main cause for the American obesity epidemic. This is simply because physical activity could not fully compensate for the intake of excess calories.

When a person is overweight or obese, advice from his or her family doctor on losing weight would surely emerge as numerous medical disorders like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and certain types of cancer will most likely be developed. This also means that the risk of having heart disease is much higher.

As revealed by the study, American children had grown on average of 4 kilos heavier over the past 3 decades with adults putting on an extra weight of 8 kilos.

What Americans should weigh today based on their current, higher food intake was calculated and compared to their actual weight. When the weight was found to be more than projected would imply a drop in physical activity.

The findings suggested the American adults had been increasing their physical activity. Same deduction also applied to American children leading the researchers to conclude that changes in physical activity had had no impact on American children growing fatter. The researchers also believe similar findings would probably apply for other developed countries.

In order for the Americans to return to their leaner bodies in the 1970s, children would have to reduce their intake by about 350 calories a day (equivalent to 1 can of fizzy drink and a small portion of French fries) and adults would need to cut theirs by about 500 calories a day (equivalent to a Big Mac burger). The alternative way is to walk for an extra of 2-and-half hours a day for children and nearly 2 hours for adults.

Nevertheless, the extra walking of nearly 2 hours a day is not a feasible option for people to counter the obesity epidemic, according to the researchers. Instead, they suggest people should pay more attention on the energy intake side rather than on the physical activity. In other words, Americans must eat less.

The findings, however, did not mean to dispute the value of physical activity for weight management and overall health.
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