What Can We Do To Fight Obesity?

What can we do to fight obesity? This week we have three excellent submissions from our forum members. They cover this painful topic with honesty and care. See what they have to say.

TOPIC: What Can We Do To Fight Obesity?

The Question:

As bodybuilders we do our best to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately it seems as if our race is dying out. Many people are not living a healthy lifestyle. Most of American adults are overweight or obese.

What can we do to fight obesity?

How important is it fighting obesity?

What do you see in the future statistics of obesity? How did you come to this conclusion?

Bonus Question: How do you feel about child obesity? Who do you think is at fault to blame?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:


        1st place - 75 in store credit.

        2nd place - 50 in store credit.

      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.

1st Place - RippedJordanian
Fighting Obesity

Introduction To Obesity

"During the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30% of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older - over 60 million people - are obese."

Obesity is a dangerous epidemic that is threatening to reverse all the advancements in medicine that have allowed society to live a healthier, longer life. It is important to understand however, that there is a difference between obesity and overweight.

An overweight person is a person with above average body fat percentage, about 15-20%. It's important to note that it becomes obesity only when body fat percentage exceeds 20%, or when the excess fat begins posing serious health risks. Approximately 65% of adult Americans are considered obese.

Obesity is also increasing in children! The percentage of obese children has more than doubled in the past 3 decades. Today, about 16% of American children are overweight.

Obesity in childhood causes buildup of fat molecules and cholesterol in the veins of the body and heart, and as the child grows older, the buildup will reach a blockage causing a heart attack. Obesity from childhood is much more serious than adult obesity.

Obesity is serious, because it poses dangerous health risks which could lead to death! Some of the risks of obesity include:

    • Hypertension
    • Dyslipidemia (high total cholesterol levels or high levels of triglycerides)
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Coronary heart disease and heart attacks
    • Stroke
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
    • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

Source: www.cdc.gov

What Causes Obesity?

Now that we've seen the dire effects of obesity on one's health, we can understand why obesity is wrong. But what are the causes of ever-increasing obesity in the world?

There are things that cause obesity which have always been there, and there are factors that are being introduced which are responsible for increasing obesity. I will be concentrating on because they are causing the increase in obesity. Factors which are causing increase in obesity:

1. Junk Food:

In the busy lives of today's society, we just don't have enough time to cook a healthy meal, and must often rely on fast food, junk food, or ready made food. All these foods are very high in fat and calories, and because they are processed, have little or no vitamins or minerals.

Increasing the intake of foods high in calories and fats is directly contributing to obesity.

"People who tend to choose foods that are high in fat or contain a lot of energy (calories) in just a small portion are more likely to gain weight than people who fill their plates with bulky but low-energy foods, such as bread, potatoes and vegetables. Eating too much fat can also increase your risk of heart disease."

- www.bbc.co.uk

2. Physical Activity:

Today's lifestyle has so many machines to do our work for us. Cars have replaced walking or biking, desk jobs have replaced physical jobs such as farming or mining. We have no time to do exercise that we have to resort to boring exercise machines such as treadmills or elliptical machines.

This decrease in physical activity causes no calorie burning which burn fat, or causes any muscle to be created which will burn energy and fat.

"Regular exercise can help to control your weight and improve fitness too, reducing your risk of problems such as heart disease and diabetes."

- www.bbc.co.uk

3. Awareness:

People do not fully understand the consequences of obesity until they reach the age of 40 or 50, where they might suddenly get a heart attack, stroke, or a serious illness. Although people may know the bad effects, they don't really care because they have not experienced them.

With wide availability of fat increasing foods, and lack of awareness for what they can do to you, it makes it difficult to resist eating fatty foods.

4. False Advertising:

Advertising companies are a large part of the obesity epidemic. Companies will create adverts showing how good their food product is and how good it tastes, but they will never tell you how unhealthy it is. For example, you always see the "I'm lovin' it" ads with steaming tasty fries and burgers, but we never see a man having a heart attack or dying in a hospital do we?

Companies who create low calorie foods are also at fault, because they usually just reduce the serving size to match their goal calories. You may buy a candy bar and check the calories, which will seem ok at first. But take a closer look at the serving size; it's usually something ridiculous such as 1/4 of a bar, or 2 grams! These misleading ads should be stopped.

5. Smoking & Alcohol:

Smoking and alcohol have been proven to increase cortisol levels, which results in more fat storage and muscle burning. Completely remove these from your diet!

What Can We Do To Fight Obesity?

Obesity needs to end, and there are a number of things we can do to put a stop to it. As an individual:

1. Eat Healthier:

The easiest and best place to start fighting obesity is in yourself. If you are overweight, start eating healthier and avoiding fatty and high calorie foods such as products. I always stress the fact that this needs a complete mindset revolution, where you become more aware of the foods that you eat and avoid the bad ones at all costs.

I don't want you to just be excited for a week and starve yourself, then crack and start binging. You need to understand how to eat healthier.

2. Get More Exercise:

Just a 1/2 hour walk as soon as you wake up and before eating anything is extremely effective for burning fat. Fat burns most effectively in the morning because you have not eaten anything since you slept. If you are a bodybuilder, however, it is important that you drink a protein shake or eat a small pure protein containing meal to preserve your muscles and keep a positive nitrogen balance.

3. Set An Example:

When people see you losing fat and gaining muscle, you will encourage them to do the same, and you will be setting a positive example. This can affect whole communities.

4. Make Others Aware:

Show your friends how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Start a campaign at school or set up something at the office to teach people how important eating healthy is. You will immediately feel more confident mentally and physically, as well as feel proud to have made a difference.

5. Petitioning:

Create a petition for members of your community to sign which asks supermarkets in your city to stock up on healthy foods and remove the unhealthy ones. If its not there in front of you, you can't buy it, so you can't eat it!

6. Create A List:

Create a list of clean but tasty foods which you enjoy eating such as low fat foods, fruits, tuna...

7. Keep Yourself Motivated:

Motivation is the most important to fight obesity. Watch movies, read articles, keep motivational messages in your room to keep yourself from giving up. Also, if you are more advanced, help the beginners at the gym or at your office or school to improve. This will give you a sense of satisfaction, and encouragement to stay motivated.

8. Rallying:

It is important that governments and health agencies pass more laws which limit the ability for companies to falsely advertise, or make it harder on businesses to sell unhealthy food.

9. Education System:

School is where a child learns, and it usually contains negative influences. The soda machines, candy bar machines, and unhealthy foods should be removed and not sold at the school cafeteria. Kids need to stop eating unhealthy foods because they are too young to learn to do it for themselves.

Also, textbooks and educational material should be revised to include articles or stories about the dangers of obesity and the benefits of health and exercise. More physical education lessons should be incorporated in schools and gyms should be made available in every school.

How Important Is Fighting Obesity?

Obesity is an epidemic, and just like all epidemics, they need to be stopped before they go out of control and infect everyone. Fighting obesity is vital, because if obesity is not stopped, then all the medical advancements to make one's life healthier and longer will be useless.

Obesity will be killing the population instead of the flu or bacterial viruses now. Obese parents have a higher possibility of conceiving obese children because children pick up on the trends of their parents which will be lack of exercise, eating unhealthy foods, and not taking care of one's body and health.

We should be striving for a healthier society free of life threatening diseases. We can now prevent most diseases, but the mental diseases are what are difficult to overcome such as obesity and psychological disease.

It is important to fight obesity because it is causing a new generation of unhealthy, ugly, and expensive society which spends too much money on excess food and processed foods. The human race is evolving into a race which is careless about physical health. Health care costs are rising, as are costs of processed and fatty foods, and life expectancy could be much longer if obesity was taken care of.

The Future Of Obesity:
What can you see in the future statistics of obesity? How did you come to this conclusion?

Obesity rates and percentage of deaths from obesity will only continue to skyrocket if nothing is done about this epidemic to stop it. Obesity rates have been increasing and will obviously keep doing so. In the future, if current programs are effective and more programs are added to fight obesity, we will probably see increasing obesity rates slow down and stop.

We may also see a decrease in obesity rates from the current 65% in adults to hopefully about 50% in about 50 years. I conclude this because, from observing the different obesity rates and how they have changed, and trying to predict what will come.

Child Obesity:
How do you feel about child obesity? Who do you think is at fault to blame?

Parents are surely responsible for their child's obesity. Children are not yet mature enough to make difficult decisions to stop eating unhealthy foods, they follow their taste. It's the parent's jobs to reprimand children and teach them the benefits of a healthy diet.

My parents always gave me healthy food to eat and almost never brought in fatty foods or high calorie sugary foods into the house. If I didn't see them, how could I ask for them as a child? Also, fast food eating was usually only once in about 2 months and it was something amazing for me to eat Mac Donald's or Pizza Hut.

Other than eating habits, parents need to train their children to forget about video games and go out and play with other children for some exercise. That way they can have a sugary treat without gaining fat.

However, as a parent, you do not want a depressed child who is not allowed to do anything fun. The most important part is to strike a balance between healthy eating and exercising, and sweets and video games.

I believe it's the parent's fault that a child is obese, and they have to be responsible. The best way to do this is to sign up a child in a sport or team that he can play for that he enjoys. If your child enjoys playing a specific sport, sign him up on a team so that he can always want to go and exercise.

Although not all children are athletic, it is almost impossible not to find a sport that your child is good at. TV and video games have been shown to decrease concentration span and hurt the eyes while sweets and unhealthy foods have been shown to cause excess fat, cholesterol, and obesity in children. Striking a balance between the 2 is vital for a happy but healthy child!


  • www.nhlbi.nih.gov
  • www.bbc.co.uk
  • www.cdc.gov
  • www.eagletribune.com

2nd Place - Nevel

As bodybuilders we do our best to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately it seems as if our race is dying out. Many people are not living a healthy lifestyle. Most of American adults are overweight or obese.

What Can We Do To Fight Obesity?

There are many ways that we, as bodybuilders, can contribute to the fight against obesity. First and foremost, we can lead by example. Let others know how good it feels to eat right and exercise.

Let our passion show through and share our enthusiasm with others. I know that a lot of people who get motivated to lose weight and live healthier when they see others around them doing so. How many of us started lifting weights, eating less sugar and more protein because we saw Rocky or Predator and were motivated to look like Stallone or Schwarzenegger? The same thing applies to people today.

Another thing we can do to help is to be supportive of those who are making an effort. Be honest, we've all done it, maybe not now, but when we were younger... We see someone in the gym that is obese and making an effort to get back into shape.

They are tirelessly going from bench to bench, machine to machine, yanking, pulling, pushing, and doing it all wrong. We snicker to ourselves or to our lifting partners, making a negative comment about how they won't last a week. Most of the time, we are correct with our assumptions.

However, imagine how this person would feel if some of the "bigger" guys came over and talked to him or her and encouraged them with their training and maybe gave them some advice or answered any questions that they may be thinking. This little push of encouragement may be all this person needs to go from giving up and remaining obese to being dedicated and coming back again and again until their goals are achieved.

The final thing that we can do is to help those around us who have not made an effort to be active or eat healthy. Maybe invite someone unmotivated that we know to come along to the gym with us, even if it's just to spot us while we work out, and then slowly convince them to give it a try.

Have your family sit down to a homemade meal instead of ordering out for food and sitting in front of the TV. If you don't live with your family, invite someone over to your place for lunch or dinner and make them a tasty, healthy meal. You may be surprised to find how many people are pickin' up what you're puttin' down.

How Important Is It Fighting Obesity?

It is VERY important to fight obesity. If only for the sake of our species! We have evolved our society into a race of people who don't move and have everything done for us by machines. The national pastime used to be baseball, now its blogging.

Meals are rarely made in the home, but rather are delivered in cardboard boxes or Styrofoam containers. These methods of eating were once reserved for those who couldn't leave the home or make their own meals; it was called meals-on-wheels. Now they make up the staple of the American diet.

Percentages of the population with diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension have skyrocketed. All of these diseases show a high correlation with obesity. Instead of trying to prevent the cause (obesity), we are more content to get fat, get sick, and get medicine from a doctor. If we were to keep fit and healthy, we would avoid millions in health care costs.

The Future Of Bodybuilding:
What do you see in the future statistics of obesity? How did you come to this conclusion?

Based on what we are seeing now, the outlook for obesity in the future is not good. Although everyone is supposedly health obsessed these days and watching what they are eating, we are still seeing all-time highs in obesity statistics. The most likely reason for this is the fad diet.

People want fast, easy fixes for being overweight. We've been hearing it for years-

"The only secret is - there is no secret."

We've been told since the time we were born: to lose weight and avoid obesity, eat less and exercise more.

The only problem is that this solution takes weeks and demands discipline and dedication, things that most people are lacking. The fad diet on the other hand offers quick, easy results and all you have to do is take a pill or eat one food in huge amounts. Which sounds easier to you?

The only problem is that most of these diets don't work and end up doing more bad than good. Many people get on these diets and then rebound back to being heavier than they were when they started.

Our efforts to educate people about nutrition have been successful. Everyone I talk to knows a lot more than the public used to know about fat, carbohydrates, and protein. The problem is that they are not using the knowledge that they have. They take things to extremes since our mindset is "if some is good, more is better."

For example, the Atkins diet had been used by bodybuilders for years to drop fat. They would cut down on carbohydrates and eat lean sources of protein, forcing their bodies to use fat as fuel. As soon as the general public got hold of the Atkins concept, they went insane with it.

They would cut out all carbohydrates they had and eat plates full of bacon and lard. It should not have surprised anyone that this backfired and resulted in heart problems.

New food choices being made available to us also give us a clue about obesity in the future. More and more health foods are coming out every day. Entire aisles in supermarkets are labeled "heath foods" and salads are available in every fast food restaurant.

At the same time, food companies are coming out with the same number of unhealthy options. A good example is Burger King. After the release of Super Size Me, all fast food corporations added salads to their menus in hope of bringing back those health conscious customers they had lost.

At the same time, Burger King developed their line of enormous breakfast sandwiches, which boast around 750 calories. Which do you see advertised more: The container of lettuce? Or the creepy guy in the king costume and mask holding a breakfast lard sandwich?

So even though we are more knowledgeable than ever about nutrition and health, we still continue to dig ourselves into the hole of obesity. Hopefully people will begin to use their knowledge and eat right to avoid or cure obesity in the future.

Bonus Question:
How do you feel about child obesity? Who do you think is at fault to blame?

Childhood obesity is a growing problem these days. With 11% of children 6-11 being overweight and 30% at risk, it is a serious epidemic. Childhood obesity leads to early development of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

In fact, obesity is the leading cause of pediatric hypertension (high blood pressure in children). Not only is it physically unhealthy, but it can also be psychologically unhealthy as well. We all remember that one fat kid who was always picked on in school. Kids are becoming more sedentary and less athletic.

They are hypnotized by instant messaging, television, and the internet. Schools are in a sort of naïve denial about the whole situation. They say they are going to implement more nutrition education programs in the schools. But this means an extra assembly or a few posters on the wall of the cafeteria.

I remember when I was that age, I never paid attention to anything that teachers told me about nutrition. In fact, knowing what I know now, most of the stuff they told us was incorrect anyways.

Gym class hours and sports programs are being cut in exchange for more scholastic education time since many schools have to meet certain test score requirements for funding. It is important that kids be smart, but if they aren't healthy enough to live long enough to use the knowledge, what's the point?

Although schools offer to "educate" students about proper nutrition, they allow their lunch program to be filled with unhealthy menus. School lunches are required to meet certain nutrient standards, but only on a weekly basis. That means that they can have a meal on Monday that has 60g of Trans fat and a meal on Friday that has no fat, but as long as it averages out to the nutrient standards set by the government, it is an acceptable menu for that week.

Most schools offer a healthy alternative to their students, like a salad. However, what kid is going to choose a salad when all his friends are chowing down on a big bowl of creamy Mac and cheese? The healthy options should be changed from options to entrees. This means more vegetables and fruits, leaner meats, and healthier desserts.

On the matter of who is to blame, some say the parents are to blame, other say food companies and advertising. I say that each case is individual. Being a nutrition major, I have seen many cases where indeed, the parents are to blame for their child's obesity.

They stock the house with unhealthy foods and take their children out for fast food on a regular basis. Fast food companies also have a hand in creating child obesity. Ask any kid what their favorite food is and I bet they will name something that is not homemade.

They will probably say pizza or a hamburger; however they are not referring to a 95% lean homemade hamburger or a whole wheat crust vegetable pizza. They are most likely talking about a personal pan from Pizza Hut or a brown cardboard disk between 2 buns that comes in their Happy meal.

On a personal note, I was overweight, perhaps borderline obese all through school. I didn't get into weight training or eating healthy until around my senior year of high school. Growing up with tall, lean basketball players for older brothers, I was the oddball of the family.

My mother, who has always been health conscious, encouraged me to lose weight, be more active, and eat healthier. She got rid of all junk food in the house and made me ride my bike to the post office every day for the mail.

Despite these positive influences from my parents and lack of junk food in the house, I still got fatter and unhealthier up until I graduated high school. I would sneak junk food into the house, go over to friends' houses and eat junk food they had, or get multiple school lunches each day. So the person that I blame for that situation was myself. It was not advertising, parents, or any other influence.

I refused to change my eating habits until I was introduced to bodybuilding. That's when everything clicked in my head and it became clear to me that eating healthy and exercising made me feel good and was something that everyone should do.

So maybe we are the answer to the obesity problem with some younger people. They haven't been properly introduced to a sport they can love. I believe that bodybuilding is the answer for many of these people.

So I do think that parents and the media can play a role in creating childhood obesity up to a certain age, however when they grow up it is ultimately up to each person to decide how much exercise they get and what to eat.

3rd Place - bitterplacebo

We've been hearing it more and more recently. America is fat. Obesity is an increasing trend in the United States. Hearing such phrases so often makes it important to understand exactly what the word "obese" means.

For the purposes of this article, obesity is the condition where the quantity of fat tissue stored on a person's body increases their risk of health conditions or starts to interfere with daily activities.

What Can We Do To Fight Obesity?

Now that we know how to describe obesity, we can organize a plan of attack. The goal of this plan is to help spread general awareness and knowledge concerning obesity and what can be done to combat it.

The first thing we need to analyze is where to draw the line between obesity and healthy weight. Then we can look at what factors contribute to unhealthy fat storage in an effort to show how obesity is a condition that can be controlled.

  1. "By Eye" - fat is relatively easily distinguishable on a person. The above methods should be used by those thinking they might be bordering on obese or a little obese, but significant obesity is easily determined by simply looking.

Contributing Factors:

  • Sedentary lifestyle. This means little physical activity is ever done.
  • High glycemic diet. The problem is generally too many processed or sugary foods lead to fat storage.
  • Stress. Contributes in many ways to obesity, read on for details.
  • Insufficient sleep. Sleep is related to some metabolic functions as well as appetite-related hormones.1
  • Age. After age 25, metabolism decreases five percent every ten years.2 Average lifespan has also increased, allowing more time for obesity to occur.
  • Genetic or eating disorders.
  • Society's lack of awareness. Inefficient diet cycling. Increased marketing of foods/products with questionable health value. Overproduction of food. Psychologically reinforcing bad eating habits by rewarding the young with sweets.

Taking Control:

After taking another look at the factors that influence obesity, we can realize that the majority are actually under our control. The first step to take is setting goals and standards of behavior in each area, then applying changes to lifestyles in order to meet those goals.

The following strategies can be used by most everyone in order to establish the control in their life that is essential to combating obesity.

1. Increased Exercise:

Any regular exercise routine or activity will raise metabolism. These could be cardiovascular activities or weight lifting. Muscle burns 90% more calories than fat.2 Combined with a diet strategy, exercise is a powerful obesity prevention tool.

2. Controlled & Balanced Diet:

Skipping meals can lower metabolism. Substitute more organic foods in place of processed and sugary foods. Some studies show that alcohol consumption may influence the rate at which fat can be burned, so limit its intake. Make sure to get enough protein to preserve muscle tissues. Consider a minimum of .5 grams per pound of body weight, or more (1g/lb) when trying to gain muscle mass.

3. Minimize Stress:

Digestion is inhibited under chronic stress. Stress also has a negative impact on growth and sex related hormones. Sports, exercise, meditation, grooming, social contact, and other recreation are good ways to decrease stress. Stress is a burden needlessly carried by many, closely related to many mental disorders. External help in these areas is always available and easily accessible to those whose stress becomes unmanageable by themselves.

4. Sleep More:

Energy levels will increase, which may promote more exercise activities. It will also aid in the body's recovery from physical activity. There are also the metabolic benefits previously discussed.

5. Gain Knowledge:

My personal opinion places the pursuit of knowledge above all other strategies. If you know your enemy and how it works, strategies can be formed to fight it and victory will be closer.

How Important Is It Fighting Obesity?

There is much to lose and nothing to gain through being obese. Such a condition needs to be actively addressed and efforts to reduce it must increase.

Effects Of Obesity:

  • Increased risk for life threatening diseases.
  • Increased risk for diabetes, which can also become life threatening.
  • Increased blood pressure, which can lead to fatal heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and heart failure.4
  • Increased risk for cancer.
  • Increased risk for depression and low self-esteem.
  • Increased cost of health care. In America, current policies will cover the administration of techniques to solve health issues as they become a problem rather than covering techniques to prevent an issue from becoming a problem. Obesity is a specific problem that can be fought through simple knowledge and prevention techniques instead of surgeries or medicines.

As we can see, fighting obesity will help alleviate many problems associated with it. It is important in things ranging from the physical, the mental, and even the economical. Improving the quality of life all over the world is certainly of interest to everyone. A world that is healthier is a world that is stronger and happier.

The Future Of Obesity:
What do you see in the future statistics of obesity? How did you come to this conclusion?

Even with our increased notice of this problem plaguing our society, obesity has been on an increasing trend for years. A study conducted at the American Institute of Research of Dietary Habits found that by 2010, 21% of American children will be considered obese.3 In previous years we have shown to be a few percent less than that number, approaching 16%.

The way I see things, the percentage of obesity should eventually reach a constant state. Efforts to prevent obesity from consuming us have been on the rise, and should hopefully lower the rate at which it becomes a problem. That along with the simple fact that obesity actually has a relation to death rate might prevent the percentage from continually rising to higher levels.

Regardless of what the actual future is, it should be everyone's responsibility to try to adopt and pass on a better lifestyle to our current youth. It is these youth who will, in turn, influence the future of further generations. The difficulty of changing the world is everyone's challenge. It's up to us to create a future better than the present.

Bonus Question:
How do you feel about child obesity? Who do you think is at fault to blame?

It's definitely not a good thing to have our children, the future, be growing up with the unnecessary burdens and stresses that result from obesity. Naturally, we want to look for the cause of child obesity in an effort to prevent it, but this blame is not so clearly placed.

We can't blame the children, who often lack the proper knowledge and awareness to control their lifestyle. The parents and adults may also not always have the proper knowledge of obesity to help prevent it from occurring in children, and thus are free from some blame.

The difference is that the adults are definitely more aware of obesity and the problems associated with it. Through this awareness, they have the ability to take actions concerning obesity. The adults can choose to learn more about obesity and how to prevent it. After gaining this knowledge, they can then attempt to influence children to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

I feel it's important that the children should actively make the choice to avoid obesity, rather than having a lifestyle forced upon them by adults. Life can be thought of us the decisions a person makes. If we take away a child's choice, we're robbing them of much of their life and their ability to grow up.

Ultimately it's adult who will teach children, so it's every adult's responsibility to teach the youth about obesity and how to prevent it. The more this knowledge reaches children, the more likely they will decide to take control of their own lifestyle. Real strength comes not through force, but rather through the ability to control.

So as we see, knowledge can be one of the most powerful allies in the war against obesity. It is knowledge that will allow us to control and strengthen our lives as well as give us the power to change the future.