More than 10
years ago, 40
percent of high
but now, barely
in PE (a decrease
of 18 percent).
C O M M E N T A R Y
Vol. 25, No.1
The Obesity Crisis Who's to Blame?
most suburban neighborhoods lack sidewalks
and require a car to go to the grocery store,
coffee shop, dry cleaners, etc. However, some
cities are trying to change that. For
example, Nashville, Tennessee, bud-
geted $55 million over the past
three years to help install sidewalks
throughout the city. The city plans
to spend another $230 million on
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic ... and
Health? Can/Should Schools Do More?
Some believe that schools should be
teaching more than reading, writing
and arithmetic -- they should be
teaching health as well. However,
one subject physical activity is missing
from the curriculum of many schools. More
than 10 years ago, 40 percent of high school
students participated in Physical Education
(PE), but now, barely one-third of high-school-
ers are enrolled in PE. A survey conducted by
the CDC found that almost 62 percent of nine
lmost 65 percent of Americans are overweight
and approximately 30 percent are obese, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, the numbers are so alarming that
the Surgeon General has referred to obesity
as an "epidemic" and obesity is now the
second leading cause of death, second only
to smoking. As the number of overweight
and obese Americans continues to climb,
health professionals, educators and govern-
ment leaders are looking not only for solu-
tions to this epidemic and reasons behind
these growing numbers, but the causes. So
who or what is really to blame for the obe-
sity crisis? Is it the schools, legislators, food
companies, city planners or individuals?
Read on to find out more.
Is Your City or Neighborhood Making You Fat?
Is it possible that subdivisions and the layout of our cities are the
reasons that people are overweight? Some say yes. A study pub-
lished in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that
those living in the suburbs weigh more (approximately six
pounds) than those living in the city. Urban planners admit that
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