Health and fitness are both important considerations in contemporary society, where individuals are exposed to an increasing amount of literature on nutrition and exercise. The perceived obesity epidemic in the US and other western civilizations is contrary to these informative trends, as it is apparent that the rates of individuals who are either overweight or clinically obese continue to rise despite such extensive research and data reproduction within the field.
What recent figures show is that the surfeit of text and information that exists in modern culture in not enough to assuage behavioural trends, and that further effort is required to maintain a fit and healthy society. Over eating and a lack of exercise are the two significant causes of obesity and subsequent health issues, and these lifestyle factors are themselves subject to numerous contributing influences.
Statistics and Significant Issues
Alarmingly, just one third of the adult population in the US are recorded as having a healthy weight and BMI (body mass index) measurement. BMI is recorded by adjusting an individual’s weight according to their height, and its guidelines support whether they are underweight, ideal weight, overweight or obese. Of the remainder of citizens that have issues with their BMI readings, just fewer than 2 percent are underweight, and therefore obesity is revealed as the most pertinent problem in the health and fitness of society.
Over 65 percent of the US adult population is either overweight or obese. As these terms are suitably broad, it is important to mention that these figures include individuals who range from slightly overweight to those who are morbidly obese (with a BMI over 30.0). Of this overall statistic, a staggering 32 percent are obese, and therefore at significant risk of subsequent health risks and long term fitness issues. Further investigation of age demographics is even more revealing, and highlights the main areas of concern in society.
The worst affected demographic is the 45 to 64 age range, where over 38 percent of US citizens are clinically obese. There is a diversity of reasons why people in this age range suffer from obesity and fitness issues, with some that are physical and others that center on typical lifestyle choices and behavioural trends. Factors such as family and work life along with the subsequent nature of changing priorities contribute heavily to obesity, where people cannot devote as much time to their nutritional intake and pursuit of physical exercise.
Causes and Consequence
In terms of the triggers for obesity and the way in which it has engulfed contemporary society, there are many that are commonly cited as significant. Of these, the internet is one that is the most indicative of modern society, with the popular assertion that as more and more people live their lives on online then the less physical exercise they undertake. A typical example of this would be food shopping, where many individuals now prefer to shop online rather than venture to their local outlet, minimizing their levels of physical activity.
Though this example may seem insignificant, when apply the same logic to other situations then the issue becomes far more significant. The World Wide Web is now such a wide and diverse resource that it influences many factors of the modern lifestyle (including shopping, dating and social interaction), that it is now possible for people to live virtual lives on the internet. This not only reduces the levels of fresh air and exercise that an individual gets, but also has the potential to reduce their awareness of the outside world and render them ignorant to certain issues.
This cultural phenomenon and the concept of fast living also influence an individual’s nutritional intake and dietary requirements. Fast food and take away sustenance have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they suit the pace of most modern lifestyles as well as the ensuing demand for instant gratification and swift resolution. Part of the corollary of the online revolution has been the way that day to day tasks are conducted, and these gradual behaviour modifications have directly affected the level of daily exercise and nutritional intake of US citizens.
The Potential for Resolution
The increasing level of obesity in US adults is not a new issue, and these figures have been rising for a significant period of time. The over dependency that many citizens have on the internet and its resources is perhaps the chief contributing factor, as it restricts the amount of exercise and outdoor experience that an individual gets, as well as desensitizing them to the perils of over eating and obesity through the protection of a virtual reality. These factors are particularly divisive in a society that craves swift problem resolution and instant consumer satisfaction.
Given these circumstances, any satisfactory resolution needs to be fostered by the individual rather than through advertising or government prompted educational schemes. This is because the contributing factors are social and conditioned, and therefore cannot be influenced by legislation or encouraged behaviour. It is each individual’s responsibility to use the knowledge that is available to them to assess their nutritional intake and devise a suitable exercise regime, in order that they may maintain their own levels of health and fitness as well as set the requisite example to their children.