We are getting fat. As of this year, America was named the official second-fattest country in the world, second behind only Kuwait. Our citizens have an average 28.8 body mass index.
According to the American Cancer Society, a normal BMI is 18.5 – 24.9, for both men and women. Overweight individuals are those whose BMI is classified as being between 25 and 29.9. Anyone whose BMI reaches 30 or higher is considered to be obese.
America sits squarely and comfortably in the overweight category. With “healthy” options pushed by every restaurant and supermarket, why are Americans, those living in one of the world’s richest countries, still struggling so much with their weight?
According to “Time Magazine,” a study done by Newcastle University in England determined that “habits formed in childhood, related to eating and exercise, carry over in adulthood, long after you’ve left home.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that “childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents, in the past 30 years.”
Approximately 18 percent of American children aged 6 – 11 are considered obese, according to the CDC, and more than one-third of all adolescents are overweight or obese.
“Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis,” the CDC said. “One study showed that children who became obese, as early as age 2, were more likely to be obese, as adults.”
To combat obesity, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has recently initiated legislation that will place a surcharge of 1 cent, per ounce, on sugary drinks that contain more than 25 calories. If this legislation becomes law, the funds raised will “be directed to support childhood nutrition programs, physical education and health awareness in schools,” according to Ortiz.
“Obesity is one of the biggest health issues facing Americans today,” the assemblyman added. “We are now consuming 200 – 300 more calories each day, compared to our calorie intake 30 years ago. A majority of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. These drinks supply 10 percent – 15 percent of total daily calories, both in children and adults, while providing no nutritional value.”
Not only would adding this surcharge onto these unhealthy drinks provide much-needed funding to healthy initiatives in schools, it could be a deterrent to consumers, especially kids, who may hopefully choose a healthier alternative.
Parents: Look out for your children’s health. They might fight for the tasty treats now, but do them a favor and consider their futures. Don’t let them be a percentage on a BMI chart, someday. Healthy habits begin today.
For more information about to keep kids healthy, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm