Sunday, October 7, 2007

F As In Fat

Two-thirds of American adults are obese or overweight and in the past year obesity rates have continued to rise in 31 states. Eighty-five percent of Americans believe that obesity is an epidemic, according to a new poll conducted by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are increasing Americans’ risk for developing major diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and some forms of cancer. But while the obesity epidemic has garnered increased attention, a comparable increase in action has yet to occur.

While promising efforts are being initiated across the country, there is no national commitment to address the problem. Researchers and practitioners know a lot about nutrition and exercise. There are well agreed upon standards for basic nutrition and minimum levels of physical activity for sustaining good health. However, much less is known about how to effectively encourage people to make healthy choices. Individuals are often told to take personal responsibility and lose weight, but with two-thirds of American adults obese or overweight, many Americans are struggling with their weight. More than $35 billion is spent annually on weight loss-related products and services. Clearly, the strategy of focusing on personal responsibility alone is failing.

According to an August 2006 report from Trust for America's Health (TFAH), adult obesity rates continued to rise in 31 states over the past year while government policy efforts have consistently failed to provide viable solutions to the growing obesity crisis.

In nationwide rankings, Mississippi was the heaviest state, with an adult obesity rate of 29.5 percent, followed by Alabama and West Virginia. Colorado was the least heavy state, with an adult obesity rate of 16.9 percent. Obesity rates remained the same in 18 states and Washington, D.C. All states fail to meet the national goal of reducing adult obesity levels to 15 percent or less by the year 2010.

F as in Fat, 2006 offers recommendations to curb the obesity crisis, including a 20-step action plan for stakeholders to address the obesity epidemic's health burden and financial costs.

Some key recommendations include:

*Fast-track research to identify evidence-based interventions and best practices.

*Break the cycle of short-term government action by developing and implementing a series of viable, long-term, fully funded solutions. Current estimates place federal spending levels for chronic disease prevention at roughly $3 per person per year -- less than most fast-food meals.

*Develop an appropriate set of indicators to measure progress in the fight against obesity. Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, measure improved nutrition and increased physical activity.

*Community-driven efforts that increase access to healthy foods for low-income areas and improve the "built environment" (i.e. sidewalks, parks, bike paths) so that the community setting is more conducive to physical activity.

*School-based efforts to strengthen physical fitness curricula and improve the nutritional content of all foods and beverages served and sold on school campuses. The report notes that physical education requirements are often not enforced or not funded in schools, and that nutrition in school lunches is often substandard.

*Employer-sponsored programs that offer employees more places and time to work out, subsidize health club memberships, and provide better insurance coverage for preventive services.

*Food, beverage, and marketing industry initiatives that improve nutritional labeling practices, such as nutritional labels based on product size instead of serving size.

This posting was gathered from the fourth annual edition of the F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America report explores both the current policy weaknesses and the new, grand scale changes that need to be considered to address the obesity crisis nationwide. To find out more about the annual Trust For America's Health (TFAH) report on a state by state basis go to:

Research gathered from:

Now here's a poem with all the fat trimmed away:

Volume Three: Sonic Mulch

Look for it in a subliminal message
of hope that occurs sometimes in the
sound of rusted springs or two tires
popping a wheelie over the centerline-
but also, it helps to imagine it as
that knock-down-dragout clarity often
associated with feathers in an arrow
aimed high or the axe chopping in a
swirl of deaf-tone or any sound that
spends a lifetime arranging things:

the lawn mower leaf blower
fatback drums bass line guitar
wobbling loops serene strings

or imagine it to be the pure
sledgehammering wind blowing
as some hitchhiker relentlessly
talks your ear off the whole trip.

Poem first published at:
Visit my ezine:
and music blog:

1 comment:

Iron-Man said...

Obesity is a major problem in America, and one has to wonder how Republicans will be able to continue to stage wars when everyone is overweight?? Who will push the wheelbarrows full of money out of the vaults? How will the Bush Family count their oil profits??