Expanding waistlines big issue for us all

(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

The health of our nation is measured by our waistlines, and, according to new research, America remains anything but fit.

Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows obesity rates have stayed about the same in recent years. About 40 percent of adults are obese, while 18.5 percent of children are seriously overweight. Those numbers, up slightly since the last report, are well above the early 1980s, when just one in six adults in the U.S. was obese. Now, that number stands at one in three and has for several years.

Apparently, the modern rat race has left us huffing and puffing at the start line.

The most obese adults are in their 40s and 50s, where the rate is 41 percent for men and 45 percent for women. Black and Hispanic women are still more likely to be obese. But no one group can be singled out, because obesity knows no gender, race or age barriers.

Even our children are suffering from the variety of factors that lead to our unhealthy lifestyles.

The obesity rate for children and teenagers, which hovered around 17 percent for a decade, has risen. The biggest rise was among the 2-to-5 age group, from around 9 percent to about 14 percent. And in Indiana, more than a third of Indiana youths ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, giving the Hoosier State the ninth-highest rate in the country.

Obese children are at greater risk of developing chronic health issues later in life, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.

Why is this happening to our children? Haven’t there been efforts to promote nutrition and physical fitness in our youths?

Well, that’s the most worrisome news from the report. Despite national efforts to promote weight loss and healthy eating, particularly in children, rates did not go down as expected. Officials say this outcome could be just a blip on the radar, but we won’t know for several years.

That means the battle against the bulge must continue. And in some places, like Madison County, it is perhaps working.

In 2017, obesity rates in our community had fallen to 33 percent for adults, after hovering around 37 percent since 2014.

So there is progress to be made.

Obesity remains a very serious issue facing our community, state and country. For those trying to shed pounds in a healthy manner, the struggle is still very real. We must continue to aid them — through exercise and nutrition programs as well as personal support — however we can.

The health of our nation, and the cost to us all, depends on it.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.