Affecting more and more children, adolescents, and adults with each passing day, obesity increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease. Obesity rates have steadily increased within the last 50 years, tripling in American children and adolescents. Roughly 15% of children between the ages 6-19 are overweight, and one-third of American adults or obese.
World Obesity Day is an awareness event that occurs annually on October 11th. The mission behind this day is to promote solutions to the obesity crisis around the world. Whether it be improving food in school cafeterias, engaging in community activities, or educating people about the importance of fresh foods, reducing obesity rates has to be done on a global scale. One single approach will not be as effective as various communities figuring out how to solve the problem from all angles.
The WHO estimates that 41 million children under age five are obese or overweight, based on 2016 statistics. In 1975, a mere 4% of children were obese, but the percentage rose to 18% as of 2016. Obese and overweight children have an increased risk of developing a range of adverse mental and physical health problems, in addition to experiencing societal challenges.
Preventing Obesity In Children And Adolescents
We live in the age of advanced technology, i.e. the age of the screen. Young people typically do not engage in sufficient physical exercise on a daily basis, nor do they have healthy eating habits. Children should have no more than 1.5 hours of screen time per day, be it in front of the phone, computer, tablet, or TV. It is up to adults to lead by example, encouraging family activities outdoors and exposing children to healthier foods. When you eat out, try to avoid ordering the typical kids menu items and explore healthier meals and beverages. This is a gradual process, but eating healthy foods and exercising regularly increases the likelihood of children following in your footsteps.
Preventing Obesity In Adults
To truly reform your health and round the corner towards a healthier life, you must begin with dietary habits. While exercising more frequently and rigorously can help with weight loss and improve cardiovascular health, exercise will not single-handedly improve your situation if eating habits remain the same. Start eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, avoiding canned or frozen varieties. Eliminate processed foods, refined sugars & grains, meats, sugary beverages, alcohol, dairy products, and junk foods to start losing weight. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be your primary food sources to provide the body with essential nutrients. Above all else, watch your portions, limiting each serving to about the size of both of your fists combined.
If people continue these poor eating habits and lifestyle choices, an estimated 2.7 billion adults will be overweight, one billion adults will be obese, and 177 million adults will be severely affected by obesity by the year 2025. Let’s change course and set off in a healthier direction. The root of the cause is diet, which is the first place any obese or overweight person should begin to improve his or her situation.