Everything is bigger in America. The cars, the homes, the foods, the money, and more prominently, the people.
America is famous for being the fat country and it is no surprise. Roughly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese, 37% are obese, and 6% have extreme obesity. And a study done by The Lancet shows obesity rates climbing to 50% by 2030.
So what have we been doing about this? We have been embracing it.
Since the 1960’s, fat acceptance is a growing movement that sprouted from identity politics from that time. The movement has the belief that any person can be healthy at any size, known as HAES or Health at Every Size. Many men and women turn to this movement to find a haven and love for their bodies out from the persecution and scrutiny projected from society. Although self love and confidence is important, how we approach this must be changed.
In February of this year, the University of Michigan carried out a study to confirm the hypothesis that processed foods are addictive. The results matched up, processed foods are addictive. “This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” explained Nicole Avena, an assistant professor of pharmacology. But there is a beginning to every addiction.
American families stopped making home cooked meals around the early 1900’s, the same time processed foods started to appear in the markets. Before then, people learned how to cook from their parents who learned from their parents. In modern times, American parents largely do not make home cooked meals and turn to pre-made foods for a fast and easy alternative.
As a result, children are taking a heavy toll from their parent’s unhealthy lifestyles and lack of time and effort. Statistics from the CDC say 33% of minors are overweight and 17% between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese. In 2011, childhood obesity was the No. 1 concern for parents- topping drugs and alcohol.
Parents are not the only contributing factor. Role models, food industry, schools, and even society are factors to overweight and obesity in the US. For example, millions of people look to Tess Holliday, a size 22 supermodel, as a healthy role model.
Currently, obesity is suspected for being the cause of 13 different diseases, depression, disability, sexual problems, shame and guilt, social isolation, lower work achievement, costs to the nation of $147 million annually, and contributes to at least 300,000 deaths (tobacco smoke coming in at 480,000) every year. Obesity is seen as a problem worldwide in developed countries, and the percentage is growing at an incredible rate.
The HAES movement is as dangerous to society as a movement called Health At Every Smoke. The goal is noble but the outcome is disastrous. The next step is to push an opposite agenda of a healthy, active lifestyles where processed foods are looked down upon. It is imperative we join movements such as The Campaign to End Obesity or the Let’s Move campaign to suppress the upcoming HAES trend.
Loving an unhealthy state of your body is ignorance to the obvious health complications that are a result of it. Overweight/obesity is unhealthy, preventable, and most importantly reversible. You only have one body. Treat it well.