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Live Oak Unified School District

Empowering all students to achieve success

Understanding Obesity

Obesity: An American Health Problem   

Obesity: An American Health Problem   

               Obesity is a leading health problem in the United States.  One in five children is at risk of gaining weight that is higher than what is considered healthy (CDC, 2022). The main reasons for the increase in obesity: 
      • More intake of “junk foods” and snacks                                 
      • Less physical activity
               In the United States, 1 in 3 adults, and 1 in 4  children, are obese. Our nation ranks among the highest nations with obesity, second only to Mexico.  Today’s children are the first generation to have a lower life expectancy than their parents, due to obesity and the chronic disease conditions obesity causes. Obesity is one of the underlying health conditions associated with the most serious consequences of COVID infection, including hospitalization and death. Only 1 in 3 adults get the proper amount of exercise and the average child spends 7.5 hours in front of the TV/computer screen daily.
              Americans eat about 500 more calories daily, than they did in 1970, most of those calories from solid fat and sugar. If you eat a diet that's high in protein, fiber, and nutrients, you're more likely to build and retain muscle mass, which burns calories even when you're resting. Conversely, if you eat a diet high in sugary, processed foods high in unhealthy fats, you're likely to lose some of that muscle mass and generally not look or feel as good.
             Highly processed foods are typically low in fiber, which can lead to gut issues such as bloating and stomach pain. It's also likely that you'd feel fatigued as many of the essential nutrients needed for good health — such as iron and other vitamins and minerals — are often lacking in heavily processed foods.
             Research has shown that a diet high in processed foods could actually cause your body to store more fat — particularly around your stomach. Essentially, if you can sacrifice the instant gratification of processed foods you'll reap all the rewards of long-term health — like more muscle mass, improved mood, and lower risk of chronic disease — from healthy foods. (coach.nine, n. d.)
The Harmful Effects of Poor Nutrition

The Harmful Effects of Poor Nutrition

      Most people in the United States don’t eat a healthy diet and consume too much sodium, saturated fat, and sugar, increasing their risk of chronic diseases. For example, fewer than 1 in 10 adolescents and adults eat enough fruits or vegetables. 
  • Overweight and Obesity
      Eating a healthy diet, along with getting enough physical activity and sleep, can help children grow up healthy and prevent overweight and obesity. In the United States, 20% of young people aged 2 to 19 years and 42% of adults have obesity, which can put them at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
  • Heart Disease and Stroke
      Two of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Current guidelines recommend getting less than 2,300 mg a day, but Americans consume more than 3,400 mg a day on average.
      Over 70% of the sodium that Americans eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Eating foods low in saturated fats and high in fiber and increasing access to low-sodium foods, along with regular physical activity, can help prevent high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Type 2 Diabetes
      People who are overweight or have obesity are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those at a healthy weight because, over time, their bodies become less able to use the insulin they make. Of US adults, 88 million—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and more than 8 in 10 of them don’t know they have it.
  • Cancer
      An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of some cancers. Consuming unhealthy food and beverages, such as sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed food, can lead to weight gain, obesity and other chronic conditions that put people at higher risk of at least 13 types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. The risk of colorectal cancer is also associated with eating red and processed meat.
  • What is considered obese?
       The Centers for Disease Control, 2022, has the following calculator. Copy and paste this link into your browser. then scroll down to the calculator (see lower left image below) and insert your height and weight. It will give you your BMI (Body Mass Index) and explain more about what you can do to obtain a healthy weight. 
Promote good nutrition and health by:      

Promote good nutrition and health by:      

  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily- replace your kitchen “junk foods” with a fresh fruit/vegetable bowl
  • Having clearly set mealtimes and avoid snacks
  • Choosing the salad bar when you eat out 
  • Eating smaller portions, chewing slowly, and being mindful of what you are eating
  • Joining a gym and/or establishing a pattern of exercise
  • Playing recreational  sports
  • Biking to work, around your neighbrhood, or along city bike paths
  • Taking a brisk walk daily, for  30 minutes
  • Swimming- It is low impact, tones the whole body, and burns  calories
  • Deciding, as a family, to do these things together