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CDC: What We Can Do About America's Obesity Epidemic
August 13, 2014

burgers and friesJust how fat are we? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 33 percent of American adults are overweight and 34 percent are obese. That’s right, fully two-thirds of American adults are heavier than they should be, and that’s leading to a bevy of health problems including heart disease and diabetes for millions of people.

With a problem so prevalent, taking action seems like a daunting task. The CDC has published a great deal of information on the subject. A 2009 report, “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in The United States,” states that “reversing the obesity epidemic in the United States requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that uses policy and environmental changes to transform communities into places that support and promote healthy lifestyle choices.”

Residents of lower-class communities and urban districts often find that boxed, processed foods laden with sugar or sodium, fast food and snacks of dubious nutritional value are easier to come by and often much cheaper than healthier alternatives.

To that end, the CDC recommends 24 strategies for towns or cities across the country to combat the obesity epidemic with a wide mixture of policy changes and altering “environmental factors” such as the affordability and availability of healthier foods and places for children to exercise.

For example, the first strategy the CDC recommends in the report is to “increase the availability of healthier food and beverage choices in public service venues.” This includes vending machines at schools and public buildings, as well as school dietary programs. Another suggested strategy is to increase access for residents to purchase food from farms, possibly by expanding farmers markets.

For more info on the CDC’s recommendations for promoting healthier communities, read the 2009 report.

But what can you do on your own, for your own body and health? The CDC also has info on that front:

Know your BMI (Body Mass Index) - Use this online calculator if you don’t want to do the math yourself.

Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle - If you’re overweight or obese, change your diet (permanently, not just a quick two-week fad) and reap the benefits of a healthier body and life.

Get Active - Move! Physical activity and exercise are just as important as your diet when trying to improve your health.

Need tips to get started? They’ve got that, too.

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