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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #78 -- America's Shameful Obesity Report Card
July 27, 2011

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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America's Shameful Obesity Report Card

America's descent into obesity is proceeding unabated. Every passing year sees many states getting "fatter and fatter."

While a few states obesity rates remain unchanged, others rose. No state however saw rates drop.

A report issued jointly by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was published recently. It is aptly named F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011.

The states with the fastest growing obesity rates are located in the southeast. Mississippi leads the nation with an obesity rate of 34.4 percent; the obesity rate in Colorado is the nation's lowest at 19.8.

The ten states with the highest obesity rates are as follows: (1) Mississippi- 34.4 (2) Louisiana- 31.6 (3) West Virginia- 32.2 (4) South Carolina- 30.9 (5) Alabama- 32.3 (6) Kentucky- 31.5 (7) Arkansas- 30.6 (8) Tennessee- 31.9 (9) Indiana- 29.1 (10) Texas- 30.1.

The obesity rates for these states in 2006 (around the time I started this website) were: (1) Mississippi- 30.9 (2) Louisiana- 30.8 (3) West Virginia- 30.6 (4) South Carolina- 29.1 (5) Alabama- 28.9 (6) Kentucky- 28.6 (7) Arkansas- 28.0 (8) Tennessee- 27.4 (9) Indiana- 27.2 (10) Texas- 27.0.

Statistics show that obesity rates are plummeting without any signs of slowing down. The obesity rate of Mississippi in 1995 was only 19.4 percent!

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, the percentage of Americans aged 20 and over who were overweight in 1960 was 45 percent. Americans aged 20 and over who were obese in 1960 was only 13 percent.

This obesity report card for America is a shame; it presents a "black eye" in the eyes of the world.

A country this technologically and medically advanced should have resolved this travesty, and implemented sweeping corrective measures long ago.

But this will not happen in out current political climate and culture of power and greed.

One problem that is fueling the rampant obesity crisis is the fact that unhealthy, unprocessed foods are "dirt" cheap while nutritious foods like vegetables and organic, grass-fed meat are more expensive.

And while America is experiencing an unemployment rate over 9 percent, many families can only afford to buy cheap, processed foods which inherently cause overeating and subsequent weight gain.

Much of our processed food is made from corn and soy. The government subsidizes these commodities which makes them very cheap. The number one product made from corn is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS.)

HFCS destroys the communication of the hormones ghrelin and leptin to the brain. In simplistic terms, ghrelin is the hunger hormone and leptin is the fullness hormone.

The massive jumbling of hormonal communication results in the body not burning fat when it should, and failing to "turn off" the hunger signal. As a result you just continue eating.

With our economy in disarray, the poor are getting poorer. They cannot afford to buy nutritious food even when they are aware of the dangers of fast and processed foods.

Also fueling the escalating obesity crisis is the powerful collaboration between health agencies, government agencies, and the dairy and food industries.

The pharmaceutical industry profits from the current practices of the dairy, meat, and food industries.

Hormone and antibiotic-laced milk and dairy products cause health issues for people who consume them. The same is true of factory-farmed meat and food that is so processed that it is nutritionally dead.

Diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes which result from the diet many Americans are forced to eat land them squarely in the hands of our so-called health care system. More often than not prescription drugs or maybe even unnecessary surgeries are recommended.

And the federal agency which is supposed to be protecting you and me are "in bed" with Big Pharma, the health care system, and the dairy, meat, and food industries.

As long as this unholy partnership continues, America's obesity crisis will steadily rise to the stratosphere.

As the obesity rate climbs, so does resulting health issues. And this means annual medical expenditures in the billions of dollars. It also leads to lost work time.

This epidemic affects the family too. For the first time in history, children may die before their parents. Instead of children burying their parents, we may see more and more parents burying their children.

The recent alarming obesity report should be a wake-up call for all Americans. Something has to be done, and it has to be done soon.

But don't make the mistake and wait for your government to make sweeping changes. Hell will freeze over before that happens. You must determine to change how you eat.

You can put in place small changes over the course of time. Instead of buying fruits and vegetables from the local supermarket, buy in season, locally-grown produce from farmer's markets.

Cut back drastically on fast foods and eating out. Home cooked meals can't be beat for health and nutrition. Start with a nutrition makeover.

Implementing these procedures will remove the number one source of unwanted calories and the obesity it produces. That source is HFCS.

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Joseph Elijah Barrett, Webmaster
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