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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is Obesity Really A Problem? A Big YES

I can talk all day about the rising problem of obesity and give statistical figures, but it really won't matter unless I have a picture to prove how bad it really is.  With the help of Google, I searched for the perfect picture and found it on the CDC "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" website.  They color coded each state based on the prevalence of obesity in the United States from 1985 to 2010.  I'll show the beginning, middle and end point to give you a glimpse of how obesity changed throughout the years.

To help you understand each map, I listed what each color represents:
  • White = No data
  • Light Blue = < 10%
  • Blue = 10-14%
  • Dark Blue = 15-18%
  • Yellow = 20-24%
  • Orange = 25-29%
  • Maroon = greater than or equal to 10%
1985:  To be fair, there wasn't a lot of data gathered from most of the states, but at least the ones that were recorded didn't reach higher than the 10-14% range.  Bicycle production near this time was 5.5 million (2)

1998: Almost all of the light blue states are now dark blue with some unfortunately breaking into a new category.  Near this time, 8.8 million units of bicycles were being produced, but by the year 2000, bicycle production fell to 1.1 million units (2).  Unfortunately, I couldn't find statistics up to 2010, but it is reasonable to assume that from this point in time, the trend shows that less bicycles were going to be produced and ridden.  With regards to physical activity, 54.6 percent of the nation reported that they did not meet the minimal level of recommended physical activity limit (3).

2010:  Every state official moved away from the blue zone and into the red zone.  It's important to note that in 2009, Colorado, a very bicycle friendly state, was the only state left in the dark blue zone with a prevalence from 15 to 19% (2).  The nations physical activity levels barely improved with 51.2 % of the population still failing to meet minimal levels of physical activity (3).

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
The problem with this question is that this is a problem that isn't easily fixed by anyone but the person who either developed a physical ailment, disease or simply chose to be inactive and lead an unhealthy lifestyle.  It is up to them to become motivated enough to seek help and change the nation from red to blue.

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