Obesity rates have been on the rise over the past few decades and it is no coincidence that people’s lifestyle habits have also undergone profound changes.
Most people are not as active as they would have been in the past because the jobs they have are less physical, while technological innovations have reduced the amount of energy people need to expend. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fact that so many individuals use their car to drive around, rather than walking or cycling. At the same time as burning fewer calories people are also consuming more calories, which has resulted in an increasing number of people developing a weight problem.
This situation has escalated to the point where there are now more overweight people across the world than hungry people. Indeed, obesity is now considered to be an epidemic, which is problematic because of the health issues associated with carrying too much weight. Obese individuals are at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, while carrying extra weight can also give individuals back pain and make their joints ache.
Carrying excess weight can also have a detrimental impact on people’s self-esteem and leave them feeling depressed. A negative mindset can actually exacerbate people’s weight problem as they end up turning to food for comfort, meaning that they consume an even greater number of calories than usual. Indeed, many people find that stress causes them to gain weight as it not only affects their metabolism, but they also use food to keep their minds off what is stressing them out.
Food is relatively cheap in the West and so virtually everybody can afford to eat more than they need. When people are hungry or need cheering up it is calorific, fatty and sugary treats they turn to because they tend to be the most convenient foods to access. People don’t have to spend long thinking about what to eat when they can just pop into their local McDonald’s and pick up a burger. Portion sizes have also increased over the years so that people are inadvertently consuming more calories than they need.
Most people aren’t burning calories while they are at work; nor are they burning calories on the way to and from work. Some individuals decide to join a gym in order to work on their fitness, but often don’t go on a regular basis, anyway, deciding to spend their spare time playing computer games or watching television.
It is therefore not surprising that so many people are overweight when they have become used to eating whatever they want without thinking about their calorie consumption and the consequences for their weight, especially because they do so little exercise as well. This is why tackling obesity is such a challenge since it involves getting people to change their lifestyles.