Obesity in America is an Epidemic, but Why?
Obesity is the condition of weighing much more than what is considered to be a healthy weight, based on the standard Body Mass Index (BMI) scale. It can be the precursor to many serious health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease or even stroke. Why then, has obesity become an epidemic in America?
There are many obesity articles and obesity facts available on the internet, and in periodicals and books, and many of them come to the conclusion that obesity is often tied to a person having a low self-esteem.
Obesity and Low Self-Esteem
Obesity can contribute to low self-esteem because an overweight person often is not comfortable with their body image. This can trigger binge eating, causing an even bigger weight problem. Obesity and low self-esteem feed off of each other, as low self-esteem can be a factor in having a poor body image, which can then lead to depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety, are two reasons that many people turn to food for comfort, even when they are not hungry. Depression and anxiety run deep and wide through America, giving obesity a large window to climb through and into many people’s lives.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder is an extreme form of poor body image, where a person is so overcome by their appearance that they will do almost anything, up to and including having cosmetic surgery, to achieve the look they desire. But it also causes the anxiety and depression that leads to, and can sustain, obesity. People with the disorder are often caught in a battle between the extreme need to be thin and the overwhelming desire to eat, often due to emotions rather than hunger.
What to Do?
The current trend towards obesity in America clearly needs to be reversed. But how? The best approach is to begin with steps that lead to a healthier self-esteem, one at a time. As a person begins to feel better about themselves, they may then take more of an interest in their appearance and then begin to take steps on their own to reduce their weight.
Some very good first steps to take include:
- Learning to stop comparing yourself to others — There will always be someone who is thinner than you are, but that does not mean there is something wrong with you. While others may have better control over their weight, they can have other problems related to self-esteem that you do not see, nor do you want.
- Realizing that appearance isn’t everything — Focus on spending time with people who like you for who you are, as you are. This type of positive reinforcement can make you more aware of all the good things that people love about you. Nobody is perfect, and a good way to work on weight loss is to make efforts to improve your self-esteem by doing such things as focusing on the many positive things in your life.
- Deflect negative comments about your weight — Without even realizing it, someone can make an inappropriate remark about your weight that hurts your feelings. Acknowledge the feeling, but then try to let it go. Sometimes, just letting someone know that their remarks were hurtful to you can help.
America as a whole may need to work on beefing up its self-esteem to gain control of the epidemic of obesity. As that happens, the country’s trend towards obesity may begin to experience a turnaround.