The obesity epidemic is expected to reach new levels over the next eighteen years. Currently, 36 percent of the U.S. population is obese, but if obesity continues to grow at the current rate, by 2030 half of all Americans will be obese. (Obese and overweight are determined by body mass index (BMI), a ratio calculated based on height to weight ratio.)
And, according to a Gallup poll released in November 2012, many Americans are not concerned with losing weight, but rather changing their standards of “ideal.” Supermodels may get skinnier every year, but Americans have come to accept that the ideal weight for the average Joe is 162 pounds – up 13 pounds from 12 years ago. This is the highest perceived ideal weight ever reported and, when asked, 60 percent of Americans would say their weight is just about right, despite the soaring number of overweight and obese individuals nationwide.
According to the poll, the average ideal weight for men is 185 pounds and for women, 140 pounds. At present, the actual average weight for men and women in the U.S. is 196 pounds and 156 pounds, respectively.
The CDC reports that 36 percent of American are obese and another 33 percent are carrying excess pounds that contribute to higher healthcare costs and an increased risk of disease, including stroke, heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
Sixty-five percent of individuals polled said they exceeded their ideal and 54 percent said they would like to lose weight, however only 25 percent were actively pursuing efforts to lose weight.
It seems that the kind of change many are hoping for is simply not happening. Despite campaigns to educate the masses on the health benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, most Americans are simply changing their standards. The Gallup report stated that the report of a mere 25 percent actively pursuing weight loss is the lowest number in that category in years.
What’s your opinion of these, dare I say, “startling” results? Everyone knows the obesity epidemic is real and a danger to the health of every individual it affects, yet the attitudes of general population are not focused on a cure, but rather acceptance. Acceptance of a lower quality of life, a greater risk of disease and an early death – is that really something we should accept?