Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | November 6, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says obesity is a growing problem in America with many hidden costs to our society.

If you have been to out to dinner in America in the past couple of years, you probably noticed that the size of the food portions are enormous! It is no secret that people are eating much more than they used to.

In 1980 14% of the American adult population was obese; by 2000 the figure reached 31% (The Obesity Society).  That is a lot is fat people with lots of physical ailments due to the extra pounds. Indeed, look at the statistics on obesity:

  • 58 million Americans are overweight;
  • 40 million Americans are obese;
  • 3 million Americans are morbidly Obese’
  • 80% of Americans over the age of 25 are overweight;
  • 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations;
  • 25% of Americans live a completely sedentary lifestyle with no exercise; 
  • 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990;
  • 80% of type II diabetes related to obesity;
  • 70% of cardiovascular disease related to obesity;
  • 42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals;
  • 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity; and 
  • 26% of obese people having high blood pressure

In the United States, the consumption of calories increased from 1,542 per day for women in 1971 to 1,877 per day in 2004. The figures for men were 2,450 in 1971 and 2,618 in 2004.  At the same time, many people have stopped walking, biking, and exercising due to work demands, televisions, computer  games and the internet.

The majority of those unneeded calories are coming from carbos, such as soft drinks and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.  Increased consumption of sweetened drinks has contributed significantly to the raised carbohydrate intake of most young American adults over the last three decades. The consumption of fast-foods has tripled over the same period.  It is a dentist and cardiologist’s nightmare.

Various other factors also may have contributed to America’s increased calorie and carbohydrate intake:

  1. In 1984 the Reagan administration freed up advertising on sweets and fast foods for children – regulations had previously set limits.
  2. Agricultural policies in most of the developed world have led to much cheaper foods.
  3. The U.S. Farm Bill meant that the source of processed foods came from subsidized wheat, corn and rice.
  4. Corn, wheat and rice became much cheaper than fruit and vegetables at the market place due to farm subsidies to huge companies such as Archer Midland Daniels. 
  5. Research from Brian M. Riedl at the Heritage Foundation showed that nearly three-quarters of subsidy money goes to the top 10% of recipients  Some subsidies are positive – that is money is paid for increased production, while other subsidies are negative where tax revenues are given to farmers in exchange for not growing a particular commodity.
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