General Question

omtatsat's avatar

Why are a lot of people in USA so obese?

Asked by omtatsat (616points) 2 weeks ago

Do they really eat so much, or is it what they eat coupled with a sedentary lifestyle

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

58 Answers

rebbel's avatar

The readily available, cheap, junk food vs the also readily available healthy, yet expensive and not yet processed/cooked, healthy foods.
Junk = cheap(er).
Healthy = (more) expensive.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

There is also a culture of dining out.
You will also find a large number of people who are very fit.

JLeslie's avatar

We do eat a lot of food. Our plate size has increased a lot over the last 50 years.

Lots of packaged food.

Additionally, we have a lot of stressors in our society.

Also, being sedentary adds to the problem.

JLoon's avatar

We are the future.

Be afraid.

gorillapaws's avatar

Don’t forget about all the crap being put in our food these days: King Corn.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They eat too much.

I’ve seen people eat enough food for 4 people.

jca2's avatar

Many reasons. No simple answer. Sedentary lifestyle – desk jobs, video games, social media (people spending hours on the computer). Large serving sizes. Processed foods with lots of corn (corn syrup, corn sugar). Long commutes where people are eating in their cars (hence special packaging formulated for commuters like hot cups, cup holders, soup and canned foods in plastic containers made for microwaving and eating on the go). Plus when someone has an hour or two commute each way, they’re turning an 8 hour day into a 12 hour day – less time for exercising. A salad costing $14 while a burger and fries costs $7 or 10 in a diner. In a fast food place, a burger can be a two dollars, fries a dollar but a salad will be $7.

cookieman's avatar

^^ All true. That said, I do see more attempts to be healthy now than when I grew up in the 70s and 80s.

While more costly, there are many more healthy and fast alternatives for food (SweetGreens, Playa Bowls, Panera, come to mind). We’re more aware about desk ergonomics, taking breaks, going for walks. I have a standing desk. Fitbits and Apple Watches are focused on healthy habits. Health Insurance companies focus more on preventative care. Student centers on campuses have very nice gyms.

I at least see evidence of folks trying to be healthy.

Zaku's avatar

Also, many cities and especially suburbs in the USA are largely laid out for automobiles, not for pedestrian access. Some newer houses even barely have a front door, instead having front garage doors for cars. Many people end up driving to school, to work, to shop, to go to a movie, and hardly walking anywhere at all, except short distances.

Industrial food manufacturers also tend to put things like high-fructose corn syrup in many foods.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Our serving or portion size is way bigger

canidmajor's avatar

Nonsense. We are packing it on so that in the End Times we will will have time to sort of get it together before we starve. While the rest of you grow weak and waste away, we will take over your infrastructure and thrive.
Think of it as the New Colonialism.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s why I only eat half of what they serve @SergeantQueen. Or order from the kids menu.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I love it honestly, leftovers last a few meals. It’s kind of awesome.

jca2's avatar

A lot of suburbs are built where the yards go right up to the street, with no sidewalks. I was recently in Wisconsin this summer and it was so great that the town we were in had sidewalks, and lots of people walking around, pushing strollers, etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Part of the problem is that people are oblivious to what they’re doing .
We were at a Mexican resturaunt once and this gal was eating tortilla chips like a machine. Chip after chip after chip after chip after chip, until they were gone. It was mesmerizing!
Then her order came and she ate her food the same way until it was gone.

flutherother's avatar

Homes with built in garages.

kneesox's avatar

@omtatsat where do you live?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

After having lived in quite a few US cities and visiting numerous countries for seven days or more, here are some observations:

- Transportation. Do most people walk or use a car/bus/train?
– Exercise. How much do they get on a daily basis?
– Food consumption. What is the quality and/or quantity on a daily basis?
– Health. Physical/mental health has an impact. Is medical assistance available?
– Culture. Does the family/location feel it is acceptable to be overweight? Does it imply that one should be skinny?
– Education. Do you know what is healthy to eat and what you shouldn’t? What a healthy balance is?

Pandora's avatar

Kids were more active by playing physical games and daily exercises were required in school. Now we have 2 generations of kids stuck at home playing video games. So they grow into inactive adults. Plus all the fatty foods and substitute sugars that make people eat more sweets.

kritiper's avatar

I think it is because of all the corn sugar that is now in our foods.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Then why am I not overweight
@kritiper? Or my grandkids or my husband?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III You probably have good genes. Genetics plays a major part in body weight. You can give 2 people identical diets and exercise routines down to the calorie, and one may gain weight while the other loses weight.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Those genes are “good” when food is plentiful. They’re horrible when it is not.

dabbler's avatar

Sugar, refined carbohydrates, pesticides in food, all those mess with the metabolism in ways it was not evolved to handle. Intestinal flora and fauna that like junk carbs tell the host person to eat more of it, mistaking that for healthy appetite many of us do just eat more of it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Actually, in my case, I don’t eat much. I waited all day for a weenie roast we were hosting that afternoon/evening. So yesterday all I had to eat was a hot dog, some chips and 2 tiny cupcakes.
The grandkids get 3 meals a day but A) their parents don’t foist eating issues on them and B) they run it off.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I hope you’re taking vitamin supplements. It sounds like not a lot of nutrition and not very good nutrition to eat only a hot dog and some chips and cupcakes in a day.

Forever_Free's avatar

it is mostly nutrition, but being a SLUG plays a lot into it as well.

SLUG = Sedentary Lounge-about in Under Garments

Dutchess_III's avatar

My diet balances out through the week @jca2. It’s not like I eat that every day.

Dutchess_III's avatar


jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Unless you’re eating oranges and other sources of Vitamin C, and green leafy vegetables and have a good source of calcium, I’m guessing you’re deprived of some vitamins. Have you had blood work done recently?

Jaxk's avatar

I would agree with most of the posts in that junk food, sugar, carbs, portion size, and the like along with a sedentary life style promotes weight gain. Another contributing factor however, is the aging of our population. As we grow older it becomes harder and harder to avoid or lose weight. We’re living longer and gaining weight, and keeping it on longer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ That’s the reason I’ve consciously cut back on my calorie intake.
But it goes back to what I said above. People don’t think about what they’re eating or how much.

@jca2 in the last two weeks I’ve had a chef’s salad (sans the meat) and some crab salad made with coleslaw greens. I have orange juice in my fridge and I drink a glass every so often. And tomato juice and cranberry juice.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, we eat too much and many don’t exercise at all. Sugar is in almost everything rather than spice. Even bread tastes sweet. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well you HAVE to have sugar in the bread for the yeast to feast @KNOWITALL.
I usually use brown sugar, sometimes honey.

kruger_d's avatar

Food deserts and our obsession with convenience. Still lots of prepackaged food in school cafeterias, too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They let the kids eat in their classrooms now. Kids munching on chips ALL DAY LONG.
Some of them offer 2 breakfasts.
I can’t imagine the rational.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I don’t know what classroom you’re referring to. My daughter’s school, they’re not eating outside the cafeteria, unless they’re outside after school or before school.

Dutchess_III's avatar

All the schools I’ve subbed in since 2019. It just floored me.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I guess Kansas schools are different than NY schools.

Brian1946's avatar

@kneesox ”@omtatsat where do you live?”

My guess is India, with Bangladesh being a remote possibility.

Also, om tat sat is a Hindu mantra which apparently means “The unmanifest invisible realm is the ultimate reality.”

Nomore_lockout's avatar

We never met a meal we didn’t like. I’m just lucky, I have always had a high metabolism. Weight was never a worry for me.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III I can’t answer that. It only seems, to me at least, that people really started getting fat at about the same time as corn sugar really started being used in foods. I suppose if one really watches what they eat and eat in a healthy, dieting manner, you may stay sleek and slim. Like my dad and his parents. If I was married and ate better, I probably wouldn’t be 20 lbs. overweight.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it goes back to the 80s when we started obsessing with “good” fat and “bad” fat and just obsessing with food and what’s in it in general.

kneesox's avatar

@Brian1946 yes, thanks, I picked up those clues and others, and my guess is Switzerland. But I just thought s/he might let us know where s/he’s looking at us from.

dabbler's avatar

“High fructose corn syrup” is an addictive chemical refined from plants. Makes the bad kinds of intestinal critters very happy and they put chemicals into your system that make you want more – “your” appetite is Not your appetite in these cases.

Glyphosate (a.k.a. Roundup) is a chemical designed to get mineral scales out of boilers. A test batch was disposed on a vacant field and when it killed everything on the field the marketers said, “weed-killer !!!”. It sucks the minerals out of your body in unnatural ways, messing up your digestion and metabolism.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dabbler…. corn syrup is made from corn. It’s just sugar.
Also, “sugar high” is a myth.

dabbler's avatar

@Dutchess_III “High Fructose Corn Syrup” is not the same as corn syrup (e.g. good old Karo).
It is a manufactured chemical cracked from corn sugar the way gasoline is cracked from heavier petroleum.

e.g. Wikipedia says this under corn syrup:
“Corn syrup is distinct from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is manufactured from corn syrup by converting a large proportion of its glucose into fructose using the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, thus producing a sweeter compound due to higher levels of fructose.”

Bing: “High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a type of artificial sugar made from corn syrup. Many experts state that sugar and HFCS are key factors in today’s obesity epidemic (1, 2). HFCS and sugar are also linked to many other serious health issues, including diabetes and heart disease (3, 4).”

Dutchess_III's avatar

People need to quit eating so much then.

dabbler's avatar

It’s useful to avoid that high fructose corn syrup in anything especially soft drinks, look for real sugar if possible.
Some less supported research suggests that residual “enzyme D-xylose isomerase” – even though in miniscule amounts – causes havoc more than mad dose of fructose. I don’t know but I’ll guess that’s a chemical that probably doesn’t belong in a human.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Karo is made out of corn.

I agree people need to realize how an ungodly amount of sugar is in pop. I watch chunky people pour themselves 60 oz of pop in a single sitting. And they probably do it 2 or 3 times a day….and they just don’t know.

product's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I swear we’ve been over this a few times, and each time you do a lot of barking about over-consumption, how you’re thin and amazing, and how obesity is a choice. It just so happens that the science doesn’t agree with you, so you might as well be arguing for a flat earth or against vaccines.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Obesity isn’t a choice. It’s a result, of people not understanding what they’re ingesting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^ Yep. It’s the choices you make every day.

product's avatar

^ Except that is not what the science says. What are your thoughts on evolution or vaccines?

Your conservative “personal responsibility” take on this ignores biology. Don’t have the time to go through this again. Skimmed this article, which hopefully summarizes some of the stuff you’re not aware of.

dabbler's avatar

Most pop drinks don’t have any sugar in them, they are loaded with HFCS an artificial sweetener cracked from corn syrup.
Sugar is health food compared to High-Fructose “Corn Syrup” HFCS.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think of HFCS as artificial.

I really don’t see how HFCS (the 55 variety) could be much worse than liquid sugar. Sugar is processed also from cane or beet. It’s immediately absorbed by the body when it’s in liquid form in a beverage. I’m not saying all that sugar or sweetener is ok for us.

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