Obesity in America, a continuing epidemic

Stout. Big boned. Junk in the trunk.

There are a lot of words and phrases associated with the stigma of being overweight in America. While some phrases are meant to be hurtful, others are intended to soften the truth of being fat.

The harsh reality is that obesity is not a laughing matter, and is a terrible condition that could lead to disease and a lower quality of life.

In a Sept. 18 article for Reuters, Sharon Begley outlined a report that gives the U.S. a bleak outlook on the future of its people and their waistlines.

The report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, projects that half of the adults in this country will be overweight by 2030.

In a May 2012 Weight of the Nation press briefing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 34 percent of adults are currently obese. It was also reported that 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are obese.

With the rising obesity epidemic, some people are wondering about problems that may stem from being overweight.

While the condition can lead to many disorders, there are other facets of life that it can affect as well.

Darany Hoang, a health educator at Cal State Fullerton, said obesity can lead to an overall poor lifestyle, not to mention the possibility of numerous diseases.

“Off the top of the list are certain health conditions from heart disease to diabetes,” said Hoang. “The quality of life is diminished when one is not able to be self sufficient or even mobile because of being obese.”

Hoang also mentioned that the stigma of being obese could lead to body image issues and even culminate in mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, which can lead back to overeating.

Vuena Loyola, a registered nurse at the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, said most overweight Americans need healthy eating habits as well as an exercise routine.

“We have to get everyone on a good nutritional plan which involves the basic nutrients of more vegetables and fruits, more water than soda, a healthy portion of proteins and a healthy portion of carbs,” said Loyola. “Along with that you’d have to have your regular physical activity.”

Loyola said that the amount of physical activity would depend on a person’s age, with 30 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise being the recommendation for adults and 60-90 minutes per day for children and adolescents.

During her 22 years of experience, Loyola said she has noticed not only weight gain in adults, but also an increase in harmful diseases in children, including diabetes, kidney failure, gallstones and high blood pressure.

Loyola also described that portion control is a major factor that could mean the difference between a person being healthy and overweight.

However, portion control and healthy eating is only a part of the solution.

Americans are being urged by healthcare professionals to exercise on a daily basis to maintain a fit body.

Alain Bourgault, group exercise and rock wall coordinator at the Student Recreation Center, said that overweight CSUF students can find ways to be active during the day by doing simple activities.

“What I would suggest is any activity, one would be walking.” said Bourgault. “Instead of waiting for the elevator, take the stairs. Instead of driving your car around and trying to get that spot close to your classroom: park further away. Park at the top of the parking structure and walk all the way down.”

Bourgault also said CSUF students should take advantage of the SRC since it is a free service to students.

“I think to quote one of my mentors and an old school guy, Jack LaLanne. He always said ‘Exercise is king and nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a healthy kingdom.’ I thought that was kind of cool,” Bourgault said.

About Raymond Mendoza