Changes in attitudes about obesity led to drop in Americans calorie consumption

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bariatric-surgery-patientsIn a number of cultures around the world, excess body fat is seen as a good thing. In traditional Chinese culture as well as in many African and Pacific Island ones, a larger body means one has enough to eat (not so common is some areas), perhaps because of more than average income. It might also be linked to more personal power. Even within the U.S. different cultural groups may have varying attitudes about body weight issues.

But that view about obesity isn't the current one in the U.S. The shift in Americans attitude about excess avoirdupois has accelerated in the last couple of decades, according to an article in the New York Times. Initially, scientists views of obesity as a serious health issue one that was seen to be increasing too quickly set the stage for the public s changing perception. This was followed by public health messages and a widespread recognition of the terms obesity and obesity epidemic. Now, according to the Times, about 95 percent of people believe it is important to prevent obesity.

Perhaps the message that had the greatest impact was that children were also becoming increasingly overweight and obese, and they were more likely to suffer from obesity-related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes at ever younger ages. This recognition alerted parents to prevent such problems by paying more attention to their kids calorie intake and activity levels.

Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH Senior Nutrition Fellow, commented It is heartening to see that the public seems to be taking the obesity issue seriously. Hopefully the attention paid to children s diets and activity will mean that future generations will not have to cope with the extensive prevalence of obesity that now faces us. However, we still have to deal with the more than one third of adult Americans who are now considered to be obese a challenge that will not be easy to overcome.