The cost of obesity and the diseases that accompany it cost the government an excessive amount of money every year. Many say that we should make losing weight a public health challenge and allow the money saved to be spent on other health problems.
In modern society it is extremely easy to gain weight due to the high amounts of fats and carbohydrates in processed food. We have constant pressure to eat foods that are non-beneficial to our bodies and in times of economic hardship we find comfort in eating fatty foods. The constant encouragement to snack everywhere we go does not help with our constant battle to lose weight. In such a busy society we find it easier to eat on the go, instead of sitting down at the table and eating a healthy meal.
Exercise Alone Doesn’t Succeed…
Exercise is extremely important in losing weight, but it cannot be effective if our diet is not healthy. Exercising and then eating an unhealthy meal almost cancels each other out. In order to lose as much weight as possible we must have a balanced and “clean” diet.
The amounts of fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates that are included in the typical western diet all contribute to the increase in levels of obesity. Processed foods usually contain a high percentage of the recommended daily amount.
Another factor for the consumer with regards to processed foods is the cost. More often than not it is cheaper to buy an unhealthy meal at the store, or at a fast food restaurant than it is to buy the ingredients and cook a healthy, nutritious meal. This cost factor only increases the amount of people that are buying processed and packaged meals instead of natural, organic ingredients and cooking themselves.
A Combined Effort Is Needed To Make A Difference
To make any significant dent in obesity rates, more information and ongoing public education will be necessary. But they’re only one part of the solution. It will also require a real change in individuals’ own priorities and personal motivation. The fact that healthier menu options at mainstream eating establishments often sell poorly and that even reasonably priced fruit and vegetables are frequently passed by in favor of candy and soda tell this part of the story.
All in all, if we want to make a significant change to the levels of obesity and the chronic diseases that are associated, it is going to take a combined effort from the government and the food producers. In order to reduce the costs to our healthcare systems we need to create a healthier approach to modern society and encourage healthier eating. We need to give people an incentive to eat healthier and in a way that they can afford to.
For Your Health,
Dr. Steven M. Gillis