Why should we care about our families' weight? There has been a lot of talk lately about how much heavier Americans are now than in the 1970s. There also has been a lot of news about the health problems linked to obesity.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) (2009-2010), approximately 69% of adults are overweight or obese, with more than 78 million adult Americans considered obese.
Your weight is the result of many things working together—the choices you make, your environment, your metabolism (the way your body converts food and oxygen into energy), and your genes.
Changes in our environment that make it harder to engage in healthy behavior have a lot to do with our overall increase in weight over the past few decades. For example:
- We're an in-the-car and sit-behind-a-desk society. For many of us, parents and children alike, daily life doesn't involve a lot of physical activity and exercise. If we want to be active, we have to make an effort.
- Food is everywhere, and so are messages telling us to eat and drink. We can get something to eat in places where it was never available before—like the gas station. Going out to eat or getting carryout is easy.
- Food portions at restaurants and at home are bigger than they used to be. To learn how these larger portions impact the calories or energy you take in.
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