On August 27, the Trust for America’s Health released its fourth annual “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America” report, and its findings were startling. In the past year, obesity rates have risen in 31 states and fallen in none. Mississippi has once again been ranked number one, with 30.6 percent of its population being classified as obese. Before 1991, no state had ever exceeded 15 percent, let alone 30. Now not even our thinnest state, Colorado, can make that claim. America is eating up, vegging out and getting fat. However, no one seems to be doing anything.
While 85 percent of Americans believe that obesity should be considered an epidemic, they also seem to feel that fighting this epidemic falls to the individual rather than the masses. After all, each person chooses what to eat and do on a daily basis; it is his/her own responsibility. Fighting obesity requires individual restraint and discipline, but apparently, as a nation, we lack that. And so, the authors of the study are calling for a national plan. The government should implement a plan of action similar to the one they developed for a possible flu pandemic. National steps need to be taken to get the country back on track. However, it should also be noted that the government is not the only body capable of inciting change. Everyone from the state governments to the school boards to you should help fight this growing problem. As cliché as it sounds, no man is an island. The people around him, his work, home and school environments, and his socio-economic status influence the decisions he makes every day. So remember that when you make positive changes in your life, you are helping to make positive changes in the lives of those around you and take the steps necessary to increase activity, increase nutrition and decrease obesity.