On May 7-9, over 1,200 people gathered for Weight of the Nation™ 2012 in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Prevention Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, the goal of this conference was to show the progress made in the prevention of obesity through policy and environmental strategies.
FACTS AND FIGURES
We all know that obesity is a common and deadly problem facing our country. But how is it really affecting the American people? Here are a few numbers to give you an idea of the number of people struggling with obesity:
- 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children are obese
- In 2008, medical costs for obesity were estimated at $147 million
- No state has an obesity rate of less than 20%
Health problems related to obesity include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Check out some more facts about obesity here.
REACTING TO AN EPIDEMIC
The theme for this year’s conference was Moving Forward, Reversing the Trend. Weight of the Nation™ 2012 was framed around five major bullet points: early care and education; states, tribes and communities; medical care; schools; and workplaces. Key speakers included U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
The cause of the high obesity rate is largely due to economic and behavioral factors. For many people, eating and cooking healthy can be more expensive and time consuming than taking the unhealthy route.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The easiest (and most obvious) thing you can do to help improve our nation’s health is to improve your own health! Start with a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid fried food, eat plenty of vegetables and watch your portions. Compare what’s on your plate to the government suggests, using the MyPlate icon. Regular exercise is also key to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Americans are eating more processed foods, and eating out a lot more frequently. The foods that are offered in restaurants, snack shops and in vending machines are higher in sugar, calories and fat than what we typically prepare in our own homes,” says Latetia V. Moore, from the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in this video. “What can each of us do as individuals to be healthier? First we can eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods that are higher in fat and sugar.”
The Weight of the Nation is a series that aired on HBO in mid-May. These four documentaries took an in-depth look at America’s obesity epidemic, and are available for free online streaming.
If you didn’t make it to Weight on the Nation™ last month, you can still watch it online. Videos of the Washington, D.C. conference are available.