Today, as our society moves towards development, urbanization, and industrialization, people are increasingly becoming fatter. Gone were the days where people in the rural areas have to toil long hours of physical labor in planting crops, harvesting fruits and vegetables, catching fishes from streams, and growing poultry and livestock. Today, through the inventions of thousands of machines, which can efficiently do men’s work faster, and in shorter periods of time, men increasingly become more sedentary and inactive. Lifestyle has changed drastically, from being active, to being couch potatoes. Today, instead of walking, people tend to move from their home to their workplace in cars. They tend to sit long hours in their offices, working on their computers and mobile phones. And when they get home, their source of leisure are their remote controlled televisions and laptops with internets.
Along with the fast-paced, more competitive modern life, where people are always on the go, food consumption has also drastically changed. Gone were the healthier diets, consisting of natural organic food products of vegetables, fruits, and meats. With modernization and increasing influence of the Western culture all over the globe, Western diet is the most popular type of diet nowadays. People now tend to consume readily-prepared foods from fast-food stores, such as McDonalds, Wendy’s, and KFC, which more often than not, serve notoriously fatty, greasy, and salty fried products such as French Fries, hamburgers, and fried chickens. They also tend to consume easy to prepare, easy open canned foods rich in preservatives with questionable nutritional values, such as hotdogs, noodles, canned meats, etc. No wonder obesity is now one of the leading health concerns in the whole world.
Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30, according to World Health Organization Classification. BMI is the ratio of the weight of the individual in kilograms, over the height in meters squared. Normal BMI is 18.5 – 24.9, overweight 25-29.9, obese I 30-34.9, obese II 35-39.9, and obese III > 40.
Obesity affects almost all societies in the world. According to World Health Organization in 2008, 1.5 billion adults were overweight, and 200 million men and 300 million women were obese. Obesity rates doubled since 1980 from 5% to 10% in men and 8% to 14% in women.
In rich and highly industrialized countries, such as America, obesity is more commonly seen in poor families while, in underdeveloped countries, obesity is seen more in rich women. In America, men, women, whites, blacks, Hispanics, old, and young are very much affected by this growing epidemic of obesity.
In a survey done in America in 2014, there were several communities that were included in the fattest cities in America, wherein almost 1 out of 3 persons in the population are obese. This alarming rise in the number of obese are attributed to the recent economic decline in America, wherein the less-privileged are more prone to eat the less healthy but cheaper food sources. Fattest cities in America include Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia- Kentucky-Ohio, and some other states, but I guess we have to really see the list as to why they are all included in the top and at what percentage of their adult population is considered as obese or fat.
As for the record, here are the list of the top fattest cities in America as per the Forbes List in a summary:
1. Huntington Ashland – West Virginia with a staggering 39.5% obesity rate in its population.
2. McAllenburg- Mission Texas is second on the list running high with 38.3% and is not that far from the top of the list if you compare in terms of percentage.
3. Hagerstown-Martinsburg metropolitan area (36.7%) in Maryland and West Virginia comes in third.
4. Yakima, Washington running 4th with 35.7%, but still breaching the 35% mark.
5. Little Rock, North Little Rock Arkansas at 35.1%
6. Charleston, West Virginia at 34.6%.
7. Toledo, Ohio at 34.2%
8. Clarkesville, Tennessee, Kentucky at 33.8%
9. Jackson, Mississippi 33.8% tied with above.
10. Green Bay, Wisconsin 33.0%
11. Rockford Illinois also at 33.0%
These cities as you can see all have high factors reaching as much as almost 40% and that is a really significant number. Remember that they say that America is home to a lot of fast food and stuff and food here is really big in terms of servings, so you can say it plays a pretty big part as to why people are fat in these places. But it may also have something to do with the culture as most of the cities mentioned above are actually all prone to inactivity as they are very laid back places except for a limited few. Obesity is fast becoming a disease already and it has been also noted by the American Medical Association that it is already an illness and not a condition.
This growing number of obesity should be addressed as early as possible, to be able to prevent the consequences of being fat, such as increased hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes, which are all leading causes of morbidity and mortality, as well as also the leading causes of economic consumption of hospital resources in terms of number of consultations and hospital admissions. Obese people are also more likely to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, pulmonary hypertension, bronchial asthma, and metabolic syndrome. They are also more likely to have impaired quality of life, as compared to their normal-weight counterparts.
People should be educated of the importance and benefits of healthy lifestyles, healthy diet, and regular exercise. Maintenance of ideal weight is very important, by balancing food consumption or diet, with energy use or exercise. Sustained adherence to diet rather than diet type is best predictor of weight loss outcome. For example, reduction of caloric consumption by 500 to 1000 kilocalories per day from the habitual diet will cause 1 to 2-pound weight loss per week. To achieve weight loss, the diet should be of smaller proportions than the habitual diet, consisting of more fruits, vegetables, cereals, and fiber sources. It should be low in saturated fats, oils, salts, and cholesterols. Carbohydrates should consist of 45-65% of the diet, fats 20-35% and protein 10-35%.
Maintenance of weight loss
Exercise also plays a very crucial role in the maintenance of weight loss. People should regularly do aerobic exercises 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity, spread throughout the week. Walking, jogging, enrollment in programs such as Cross Fit, or engaging in active sports, would definitely help maintain a normal weight.
More radical approaches to obesity include pharmacotherapy and surgery. Medications such as Sibutramine, which can decrease appetite hence decrease food consumption, can be used. Orlistat, which inhibit lipase, causes inhibition of digestion and absorption of fats, hence promoting weight loss. Bariatric surgery, such as gastric banding and gastrectomy, may also be considered for severely obese, with BMI of > 40 kg/m2, or moderate obesity with BMI of > 35 with serious medical conditions.
Overall, the process of obesity can still be addressed, and these cities mentioned, above all, have chances to lessen their percentage of obesity, and all they have to really do is start being healthy in their lifestyle. It should be part of the local government in there to impose healthy lifestyles and help the population have a way to be fit like sponsoring exercise programs and daily events that will allow people to move and exercise about. And, of course, the food; But this is something that is for the people involved to really control as there is no other way to be not obese but to control what they eat.
The opposite side
The noted cities that are also on the opposite side, which means they are the healthiest, have one thing in common which makes them healthy, in that they all have agreed to make it a point that health is always important. They promote healthy living and daily activities to prevent the aging population from becoming increasingly inactive each day, If these cities above will just do that, then the title of the fattest cities in America will soon be a faraway memory, but they need to get started with something first.
If you were someone living in this city, would you love to have that kind of title? Living in one of the fattest cities in America? Of course not, so you all have to take part in a way to ensure that this title is not something that is permanent. If you can do something about then do! It would really be much better to hear that you are from the healthiest city. The survey for such comes out late in the year, so it might not really be possible to get out of the obesity list or the fattest city in America list easily, but efforts will show great results if done right and done regularly. Let us hope by the end of this year, the list will change and the top-ranked will go lower in the list.