Welcome to America. Freedom, bravery and all that good stuff. Oh yeah, and residence of the highest obesity rates in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in the U.S. is of epidemic proportions. The 2010 statistics on obesity rate Florida amongst the top states, a whopping..or whopper, of 26.6 percent of residents in this great state as pushing the weight limits.
So who gets the blame for our large and expanding exteriors? Adults are not the only ones with the problem. Children in Jacksonville are also suffering the consequences. Food choice is the biggest culprit but is it our fault that the fast-food restaurants offer delicious, quick and cheap meals for society on-the-go?
The answer is a loud YES. As waist-lines expand, research abounds. Lo and behold the consensus in the health-care world is that what we thought was convenient good food is now taking a toll on life expectancy, increased risk for heart disease and high blood pressure in childhood. As a reaction the fast-food joints are joining the health kick and offering delicious, nutritious alternatives to that 900 calorie burger and 500 calorie side of fries. You can now choose a side salad to go with your baked chicken sandwich and order your child a side of apple slices with her burger.
No matter which way you slice it, you have a choice. A healthy choice. So what’s the problem? For some, it is quite difficult to give up those comfort foods, especially if you don’t see your belly bulging after years of eating high-fat, high-calorie items. But remember, what you don’t see can also hurt you too. Heart disease is a silent killer. The biggest killer in America by the way. Heart disease normally needs sidekicks like saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium to help it develop. All three elements are readily used in abundance in your favorite fast food.
Is it realistic to tell you to avoid fast-food? No. But you can eat a salad as your entree instead of the value meal, super-sized. You can skip the soda and go for water, which may save you up to 500 calories from one large drink. You can choose the small fry, small burger and small soda if you refuse to go with the greens. You can do a lot of things differently in the 10 second pause between “Hi, May I take your order” and “Yeah, I’d Like a….”
The Duval County Health Department along with health-care providers and community organizations has put forth a call to action to help educate you on ways to fight obesity and spare you children’s future misery. Get involved. Take action. Fight for your health!