Home | Non-food | Disease | Why is the United States the Fattest of 33 Nations?

Why is the United States the Fattest of 33 Nations?

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Martha Rosenberg

In a report just released by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development), the United States has the highest rate of obesity of 33 countries. Mexico and New Zealand are next runners up in obesity and India and Indonesia have the lowest rates of obesity.

While half of Americans were overweight in 1980, 70 percent now tip the scales at unhealthy weights says the report. By 2020, three-fourths of all Americans are expected to be overweight, says OECD, an organization that advises governments on economic growth, social development and financial stability.

The prognosis could be even worse for 2030. By then, 86 percent of Americans could be overweight says an 2008 article in the journal Obesity.

Most food researchers indict a sedentary lifestyle that revolves around television and video games for US obesity, especially among children. Instead of playing outside, children and teenagers engage in activities which consume no calories at the same time they are exposed to commercials for high calorie meals and snacks.

But the demise of the once predictable family dinner routine is also a factor says the Star-Tribune. Structured family meals give a sense of safety and security to children at the same time they teach healthful eating habits. When people eat alone, often accompanied by television, they consume larger portions than they realize and also tend to make unhealthy food choices, studies have shown.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has found that substance abuse is significantly lower in families that eat together three times a week. Food addictions are increasingly being viewed as a type of substance abuse.

Another factor in US childhood obesity is proximity to high calorie food. A 2010 study by the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University found 9th graders whose schools are close to fast food restaurants are more likely to be obese. And the New York Times recently found that both adults and children who ride public transportation tend to be less obese. Clearly exercise, including walking, and bypassing unhealthy food outlets help keep the excess weight off.

There are other reasons the US is one of the fattest nations in the world, say public health observers.

Size inflation -- women's size fives are now size zeros -- and "forgiving" clothing designs made with Spandex and latex give a false sense of thinness. And baggy, low hung, hip hop fashions tend to fit regardless of the excess weight of their wearers.

Food is also cheaper and more available than it used to be. Snacks are offered in more public places than before, super-sizing prices dominate at fast food restaurants and drive-in restaurants are more common.

Another ironic factor for Americans' increasing food consumption is that many adults are attempting to quit smoking. They are trading one oral habit for another.


(Send your news to foodconsumer.org@gmail.com, Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (3 posted):

Robbies on 09/29/2010 20:02:31
The diabetes and Obesity crisis is the direct result of chemicals in the food supply. This has been proven!. The effects have been the diabetes and obesity tragedy. THe drug makers have made billions$$$ on the dangerous diabetes drugs!While the people are not cured. The FDA allows this tragedy

A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and obesity in now 10 countries worldwide WITHOUT medications but the drug makers do not promote this
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down
Erin on 10/05/2010 18:35:20
Also, food is everywhere. Gas stations and bookstores didn't use to offer food and high-calorie drinks. Vending machines are in schools, malls, and the workplace. Most of us live or wokr within a mile from some kind of fast food venue. Unless camping in the wilderness, Americans are never too far from food to purchase.
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down
LivingFood101 on 10/19/2010 02:12:03
We might be able to solve this problem if we would only offer people healthier foods. No one wants to be overweight, but when they are hungry and the only thing in in the vending machines is junk foods, then that is what they will have.

Just my thoughts....
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
Rate this article