The Biggest Problem America is Facing!

U.S. Obesity Statistics


“This might be the first generation where kids are dying at a younger age than their parents and it's related primarily to the obesity problem.” This quote from Judy Davis, an actress and activist against obesity is a startling statement about the future of our nation, the current obesity problem is not only secluded to current issues, it will grow and continue to affect our future. The obesity problem in the United States is a combination of lots of issues, and throughout this Smore we will address and show how this problem can be approached and even solved. Obesity is a grave pandemic that is quickly spreading, its significance impact on a vast amount of Americans is astounding, the overall health risks of these people is extremely detrimental, and the costs that it has and will have on our society are all reasons why obesity is a primary concern for America.

First off, the sheer amount of obesity in our nation is astounding, and its’ significance on our society it tremendous. The rates that it occurs in our population is extremely high, according the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese,” and in addition to that “More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.” These rates are showing how our society is okay with this unhealthy behavior, and that more than one out of three Americans are actually in the range when it is extremely detrimental to their health. Already, “Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years had [are] obesity,” this is published by the Center For Disease Control and shows how we are already endangering the next generation. In addition to just a volumetric increase of the obesity rate, the most extreme cases are also growing at an unprecedented rate, we can see that Obesity is a problem that is affecting a large percentage of the population.

Seeing how much of our society is affected by this disease, lets address what the actual drawbacks and consequences are. According to the Mayo Clinic, side-effects of obesity include, but are not limited to “Heart disease, high Cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, etc.” These side-effects are killers, these aren't things that can be avoided, each of these listed will had a significant impact on the life of anyone who is affected by it. These diseases are very rampant in the obese population and they are extremely costly. According to the American Journal of Public Health, “One in five deaths in United States is associated with obesity.” The health complications associated with obesity are among the top leading causes of death in the United States and is associated with over 20% of deaths in the country, and yet this type of lifestyle is on the rise and spreading. More awareness of its side-effects must happen to show the American Public what are the costs of its actions.

Speaking of costs to the society, let’s address the monetary cost for obesity, from medical expenses and lost capital. The Center for Disease Control estimates that the “annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars (Adjusted for inflation).” This is just money that is spent currently on medical costs for obesity, this doesn’t address lost productivity or other ways the money could be used. The cost to our society in the future will continue to grow to astounding rates. Based on projections by the American Heart Association, “If current trends in the growth of obesity continue, total healthcare costs attributable to obesity could reach $861 to $957 billion by 2030.” These monetary costs of obesity are absolutely detrimental to our society, we can see that the medical and monetary cost of obesity in our country are extremely high and are continuing to grow.

Obesity is a significant problem and has such a large impact in our modern day society, the medical effects it has will continue to harm and destroy our society, and the monetary costs will become a large amount of money that will be squandered on a cause that is avoidable. I will let Luke talk about this strain more. But first I want you to remember one thing: its tragic when a parent outlives their child, and because of the significance of obesity in our society, that is going to become the new social normal.

Sean McHugh

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Obesity is a major problem in the United States and it causes many great needs in our society that must be resolved. The best way to fight to end obesity is to support groups and organizations that fight obesity in the United States. America’s weight problem is not just an issue that obese individuals should be concerned about. This plague affects every single American including all of us. Low wages, the high cost of airplane tickets, and higher taxes are all due partly to the fact that one third of Americas are obese. According to The Food Research and Action Center. The three major drawbacks to having a substantial obese minority are the amount of money our government must spend to care for them through the Medicaid and Medicare programs, the unfair low wages for all American workers along with decreased productivity, and finally obese people pay more for everyday items than people at a healthy weight.

During the past 45 years the obese population has dramatically increased. Recently there have been huge increases in the number of cases of diseases associated with being over weight. The first major side effect of having a population that is 1/3 obese is that a large portion of citizens are more prone to contracting diseases. According to medicare.gov obesity is linked with a higher risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma, and arthritis. Medicare and Medicaid cover all of these diseases. In 1990 the federal government spent 12.3% of the entire budget on funding these two programs. That percentage would increase to 28.6% of the total annual budget in 2010. According to Katerina Tang this huge increase is due to treating more cases of diseases linked to obesity.

The second drawback of obesity in America is that the average workers salary is lower and companies are less productive now than they would be if fewer people were obese. Obese workers take more sick days per year than their non-obese co

workers. Even though workers at a healthy weight take fewer sick days they are

paid the same amount as their obese co-workers. Shell Oil Company reported that they lose $11.2 million per year due to the absenteeism effects of obesity alone. According to Ross Hammond. Obese workers are not only at work less they are also less productive

when they are at work. This possibly occurs because of physical and mental health issues that are more common among obese workers. A study by Ricci and Chee also showed that obese people have more lost productive time than their non-obese counterparts.

The final reason why the number of obese people in the United States needs to decrease is that the costs of many everyday items is greater for them and they are typically under more financial stress. Higher Medical Costs are one of the more obvious expensive commodities for obese people. According to a study at George Washington University the health care costs for an obese person is $807 higher per year than the health costs of a person at a healthy weight. Obese people also pay more money for gasoline than normal-weight people Obese individuals can pay up to $36 dollars more per year. Another added cost on the Obese is via life insurance. The average obese individual without any other preexisting condition will pay around $110 more annually than a healthy weighted person with a similar medical history.

In conclusion, I hope that you see the enormous need there is to decrease the percentage of Americans who are obese. Decreasing the number of obese people would decrease the strain they put on our government funded healthcare establishments, medicare and Medicaid. It would also reduce the production and wage injustices and it would reduce the number of people who pay inflated prices just for being obese. Now Nash will tell us how to satisfy this need.

Luke Weissler


Seeing that we are the second fattest country in the world, “with more than one third of U.S. adults considered obese”, the solution is not easy to come by, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What we propose is not a full blown solution to this disease, but ways to counteract. Im sure we would all love to say that we are in the best shape of our lives, but are we really?

A few of the biggest factors leading to obesity are genetics, lifestyle, inactivity, bad eating habits, age, and medical problems according to mayoclinic.org. Now, there are several of these factors that we cannot really do anything about, however there are a few that we can change for the betterment of ourselves.

The basis of obesity comes from the accumulation of calories that are not burned throughout the day that are stored on your body as fat. Over time, this accumulation can grow until you are overweight with higher chances for illnesses such as heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, gout, and diabetes according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

We propose a solution that will not cure everybody, but will significantly help decrease obesity in adults and in children.

There are two parts to this:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Motivation

This sounds cliché, but trust us, as a fellow Aggies, we're on to something!

I propose that fast food no longer become something unhealthy, but that we change the connotation of fast food to something healthier and less processed. In fact, we don’t need processed food at all. It’s only bad for us and has very little nutritional value. An unhealthy diet is a leading cause of childhood obesity, which can quickly lead to severe complications and diseases that we could avoid with the right food choices as stated by childrens.org. We don’t want obesity for ourselves, but we definitely don’t want this for our toddlers! We need to watch what we put into our bodies.

Now Im sure there are probably at least a fourth of us who stop by McDonalds or Taco Bell on the way to school in the mornings since we have an 8 a.m.'s and nobody wants to cook this early in the morning, let alone get up.

Now as far as exercise goes, Im sure several of us have worked out or done some form of physical activity in the last few days, but seeing as we are one of the most fit Universities, this is to be expected. Now we just need everyone else to catch up to Texas A&M as well as us keep improving.

Have you seen those commercials that tell you to get outside and play? Those along with many other programs have been developed in the last few years to help fight the growing obesity. We cannot afford not to encourage such programs that will have great effects on us and our children, perhaps changing our futures forever.

There are many programs such as the “Let’s Move” campaign and the “We Can!” program and the ”Choose my plate” which have been developed in order to help our society become more aware and more active of the growing obesity in our country. These programs should not be taken lightly!

Ultimately, the decision to become obese adults and live unhealthy lives or to reverse the effects of obesity and become healthier, stronger, more healthy individuals is entirely up to us. We have free agency, the power to choose. Hopefully, you will choose the better route and support others and programs that will encourage others to be healthier with you. WE CAN DO THIS!

What will you choose?

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What if we lived in a world free from obesity? Where the struggle to go up a single flight of stairs is less of a struggle. At this moment, we face two futures. The first future is one where a majority of the population has a BMI greater than 30 and the other is one where humanity remains reasonably healthy.

The first, obese, future has severe consequences. Projections for the future can indicate the direction our society is going. Healthyamericans.org, states that “If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent.” These increasing rates can have negative side effects on the population as a whole. There will be an increase in coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers, hypertension and other medical conditions according to cdc.gov. The Santa Fe New Mexican states that obesity is unhealthy and is draining are healthcare system with an estimated 21% of all U.S health care spending linked to obesity. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention projects that 1 in 3 children, born today, will be diabetic in their lifetime. This is a world where walking up one flight of stairs leaves you breathless for the next 30 minutes. This is a world where standing up is a hassle for 60% of the population. This is a world where driving a car is substantially more difficult than it is today. In this world the obesity rate is still increasing.
Not only does obesity affect the health of our society but it also affects our economy. Stateofobesity.org describes some of the side effects. Treatments for obesity have cost around 147 to 210 billion dollars. Being absent from a job due to obesity costs about $4.3 billion. Obese employees had $51,091 in medical claim costs while costs for healthy-weight workers were $7,503. With these statistics, one can hypothesize about future conditions. The current obesity level is about 30% of the population, however, healthyamericans.org projects that in 2030 the obesity rate will be at about 60%. This means, assuming all things constant, that every expense will most likely double, increasing health care costs to about $300-$400 billion.
Now imagine a playground with kids outside on the swings and going down the slide. A couple walks by talking about their plans to go bowling next weekend. These people are outside exercising and are generally healthy. If we instill healthy values at a young age then the values are more likely to carry over into adulthood, preventing later medical issues associated with obesity. A cut in the obesity level has the potential to increase life expectancy and create a healthier work force. A healthier work force would be more productive and invigorate the economy. An economic benefit would be the reallocation of resources from obesity related medical expenses to parks, the hungry, or other public services. A study done by mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu investigated a sample of couples who logged their habits for a week suggesting “that heavier women may find it harder to cope with bad feelings than thinner women and overeat to soothe themselves.” This suggests that people with a lower BMI will be more comfortable and happy with their social lives and relationships. Therefore, people a healthy future live happier healthier lives. In a world without obesity, people are more comfortable with themselves and there are virtually no deaths or medical problems associated with a high BMI
Obesity has become an epidemic and threatens our future as a species. If current trends continue we will face a dangerous future. If we control the obesity epidemic we will lead happier healthier lives.

-Hunter Settle

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Half Ton World - Documentary


So now that you've heard about the issue and the possible futures it entails, it’s time for you to take action and promote a healthy lifestyle. To begin though, I'm going to tell you about organizations that are already taking action in the fight against obesity and that can help guide people to a healthier future.

The first organization I would like to mention is Let's Move! Let’s Move! is a “comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady [Michelle Obama], dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation” (3). This program is designed to teach and inform parents and caretakers about obesity and what they can be doing to promote a healthy lifestyle for their children. Let’s Move! encourages parents to make healthier decisions for their children when it comes to food, as well as teaching them healthy habits that will continue for the rest of their life, with dietary information and suggested meals and servings. Let’s Move! also encourages parents to promote healthy physical activity for both their children and themselves by educating them about the benefits and laying down guidelines. All of this is according to letsmove.gov.

The second program I want to mention is We Can! We Can! stands for “Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition” (2).We Can! is a collaboration between The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute.The primary goal of We Can! is to offer resources to “organizations, community groups, and health professionals” that they can use to promote a healthier lifestyle (2).We Can! is very similar to Let’s Move!, but has a slightly more scientific approach, since it is primarily ran by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Part of the resources We Can! offers are programs that people and communities can use that provide guidelines to healthy eating, healthy exercise, and reducing time spent in front of screens, such as watching TV or sitting on the computer.We Can!’s basic principle though when educating people about a healthy lifestyle is energy balance, which is eating the same amount of calories as you consume. And all of this information was from nhlbi.nih.gov.

Now the third program I would like to talk about is called Choose My Plate. Choose My Plate is a tool to help guide people on what and how they should be eating, but in addition has tools to help assess an individual’s personal needs and then track their progress. Some of the tools provided to track progress includes an application called Supertracker, a BMI calculator, and predetermined food plans. SuperTracker helps an individual track their diet and physical activity by logging information on what sort of food they ate that day and how much exercise they got. The BMI calculator determines an individual’s BMI based on height, weight, and age, and then gives a typical average for those inputs, which allows for a basic idea of where an individual is starting and what progress they need to make. And then last is the predetermined food plans, which allow you to choose what kind of calorie intake you need, from highs like 3200 calories a day to lows like 1600 calories a day, and then gives the suggested amount of food in each food category you would want to strive to eat. And again, all of this is according to choosemyplate.gov.

The last program I would like to mention is The Campaign to End Obesity. The Campaign to End Obesity is a little different from the previous programs I have mentioned. The Campaign to End Obesity, instead of promoting a healthier lifestyle directly to the people, it rather tries to help put a stop to obesity through policymaking, “by bringing together leaders from across industry, academia and public health with policymakers and their advisors… provid[ing] the information and guidance that decision-makers need to make policy changes.” (4). All of this is according to obesitycampaign.org.

Now this is the part where you take action. One way of taking action would be to spread the word about the programs I have mentioned and raise awareness about obesity and its hazards. Another way you can take action would to donate to these programs and organizations or ones similar to them and help give them the funding to make a change. In addition, volunteering and participating in organized activities to raise awareness and create opportunities for children and others at risk to be active and healthy would be a great help. And lastly, a way you can take action would be to lead a healthy lifestyle yourselves, not that any of you are obese or anywhere close, but by getting in the habit of leading a healthy lifestyle you are helping create a trend of healthiness and then those habits will pass on to your children and future generations.

Erik Stowers

BMI Calculator

This interactive feature allows you to calculate your own BMI to determine if you are under-weight, at the right weight, over-weight of obese. Luke Weissler

Boogie on the Avenue

Sunday, May 17th, 9am

Gilman Avenue

Campbell, CA

5k run/walk to prevent obesity


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean to be obese?

Obesity is defined as when a person's BMI is over 30, BMI is a measure of how much body mass a person has compared to other physical attributes they have. Having too high of a body mass correlates to a higher BMI.

2. Can't I just go work out or do a quick diet to become a healthy weight?

Often times no, as show by Eric, in order to maintain a healthy body you have to have a healthy lifestyle. This doesn't mean there is any quick fix, you have to work hard to keep yourself on track and to work on it; but with the right amount of effort you will definitely see yourself leading a healthier life.

3. What are some simple tricks to start losing weight?

There is no one cure for a unhealthy lifestyle, but there are many things that can help lead a healthier one. For example you can cut out a soda or coffee out of your routine each day and save yourself a lot of empty calories. And maybe plan a family dinner night where instead of going out or getting fast food, you create your own healthier dinner - like make your own pizza night! It always helps to have someone by your side to help motivate you, so go running once or twice a week with a friend or family member. These are all small steps you can take to lead a healthier life.

4. American isn't the fattest country in the world anymore, so why is this still a problem?

Well even thought we have been overtaken as the largest per capita country, that doesn't mean that our problem went away. As shown by Sean, this problem is still affecting a large amount of americans and it is still growing.

Read Some Interesting Articles About Obesity:

Work Cited

"Adult Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, Bravata DM, Dai S, Ford ES, Fox CS, Franco S, Fullerton HJ, Gillespie C, Hailpern SM, Heit JA, Howard VJ, Huffman MD, Kissela BM, Kittner SJ, Lackland DT, Lichtman JH, Lisabeth LD, Magid D, Marcus GM, Marelli A, Matchar DB, McGuire DK, Mohler ER, Moy CS, Mussolino ME, Nichol G, Paynter NP, Schreiner PJ, Sorlie PD, Stein J, Turan TN, Virani SS, Wong ND, Woo D, Turner MB; on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association.Circulation.2013;127:e6-e245.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Obesity." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 May 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

NIDDK.”Overweight and Obesity Statistics." Overweight and Obesity Statistics. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Ryan K. Masters, Eric N. Reither, Daniel A. Powers, Y. Claire Yang, Andrew E. Burger, and Bruce G. Link. The Impact of Obesity on US Mortality Levels: The Importance of Age and Cohort Factors in Population Estimates. American Journal of Public Health: October 2013, Vol. 103, No. 10, pp. 1895-1901. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301379

Sean McHugh

Dor Ph.D., Avi. "A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States." The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Health Policy (2010): n. pag. Print.

Hammond, Ross A., and Ruth Levine. "The Economic Impact of Obesity in the United States." Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity : Targets and Therapy. Dove Medical Press, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

"Overweight and Obesity in the U.S. « Food Research & Action Center." Overweight and Obesity in the US. Food Research Action Center, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

Ricci JA, Chee E. Lost productive time associated with excess weight in the US workforce. J Occup Environ Med. 2005;47(12):1227–1234.

Tang, Katerina B. "Obesity and the Rising Cost of Healthcare in America." Obesity and the Rising Cost of Healthcare in America. Fair Food Network, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

"Your Medicare Coverage." Preventive & Screening Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. <http://www.medicare.gov/.html>.

Luke Weissler

"ChooseMyPlate.gov." ChooseMyPlate.gov. U.S. Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

"Eat Right. Get Active. Reduce Screen Time." Welcome to We Can!, NHLBI, NIH. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

"Let's Move." Take Action. U.S. Government, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

"The Campaign to End Obesity." The Campaign to End Obesity. A 501(c)(3) Organization, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

Erik Stowers

"Causes and Consequences." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. Cdc.gov

"F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012." - Trust for America's Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. stateofobesity.org

"F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013." (n.d.): n. pag.Stateofobesity.org. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. Healthyamericans.org

Matlock, Staci. "Researcher to Talk on World's Growing Obesity Epidemic."The Santa Fe New Mexican 12 Feb. 2014: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

"Women’s Weight and Emotions: The Impact on Relationships and Eating Behaviors." Women’s Weight and Emotions: The Impact on Relationships and Eating Behaviors (n.d.): n. pag. Frances Mclelland Institute. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. Http://mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu.

Hunter Settle

"Adult Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"Leading Causes of Child Obesity." Leading Causes of Child Obesity. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"National Programs Helping to Prevent Childhood Obesity in America."SweetSurprise.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"Obesity." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 May 2011. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"Obesity." Risk Factors. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

-Gnashua Savage