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The Welcoming Truth - Obesity in America

By       Message Rosanna Bonilla     Permalink
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Welcome to America, where the key to being an American is indulgence, especially in New York City.  They say it's "the city that doesn't sleep".  Well sure, the flashy lights, giant billboard advertisements and fast food signs keep the city well lit. New York is also known for its "busy lifestyle".  Thousands of people running around with a million things to do; the city works like clockwork.  Are you putting all of this together?  All of this tidbit information leads to a rapid growing epidemic that thousands of people of all ages face daily; many factors contribute to this borderline disease called obesity.  

Obesity is excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI [1] . A person is considered overweight if his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9; a person is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30. [1]  So what does this mean?  Do you know what your normal weight is considered; could you be on the verge of obesity?  

So it's true, we all have our daily routines, some busier than others, but how many people do you know live off of fast food, junk food, because of their lack of time?  There are so many working mothers that just don't have time to make a home cooked meal.  This theory revolves around time and is what makes fast food chains so lucrative. They make it fast, easy and convenient, not to mention you can practically find one on every corner.  "Have it your way", "i'm lovin' it", "Think outside the bun"; just a few of the catchy phrases used, but what are they really saying?  When you look at the rise in the obesity rate of people and the rise in the success of fast food chains, they parallel each other. About 300,000 people die each year from being obese or overweight; this is second only to smoking. [2] Fast food isn't the only reason people are gaining weight, but it contributes to it.  

Sticking to the time theory, when do we exercise, or do we?  Sure New Yorkers walk from subways to bus stops, etcetera. According to various internet sources, it was determined that the average New Yorker walks one to two miles a day.  Is that really enough?  No, it's not.  Recent guidelines say 10,000 steps a day is what we should be shooting for, but how far is 10,000 steps anyway? [3]  The average person's stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long.  That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles.  So even if we don't have time to go to a gym or work out at home, there is always walking.  Be creative, take a longer walking route than usual, park in a parking spot just a little further, and opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator.  A little can go a long way. [4]  

As adults we have a responsibility to teach and show the younger population the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.  The younger population is suffering from obesity the same as or worse than the adult population.  Many may not realize the severity of obesity, especially in children.  Studies have shown that 80% of overweight children between the ages of 10-15 were obese at the age of 25.  Obesity can lead to other complications during childhood development such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes [5] .  Next time you are buying a "happy meal" or deciding which free toy you want your "happy meal" to come with, think about what you are really feeding your child or yourself for that matter.  (Six pieces of hypertension [6] , a small side of cholesterol, and a cup of ten tablespoons of sugar.) [7]  

Not all Americans indulge in overly processed food and choose to drive even if it is around the corner, but the bottom line is that we need to take the severity of obesity seriously and bring it to the attention of the unaware.  This rapid epidemic is expected to double by the year 2050.  What kind of health do you want your family, friends, and most importantly yourself, to be in?


The next time the Statue of Liberty welcomes you to America, she may be wearing a pedometer.



[1] BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight (in kilograms) by his or her height (in meters, squared). BMI can also be calculated by multiplying weight (in pounds) by 705, then dividing by height (in inches) twice. (

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I'm a Long Islander with an opinion and a view trying to raise awareness on things that sometimes just slip our minds. FML: Focus Motivate Life

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The Welcoming Truth - Obesity in America