A 15-second look at how U.S. population became obese over 25 years

The Atlantic.com posted an animated graphic that takes us from 1985….

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…..to 2010. In just 15 short seconds, you can watch the obesity epidemic balloon across the U.S. The CDC defines obesity as having a body mass index that’s 30 or higher.

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Reporter James Hamblin also posted the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest obesity rates, and the 11 with the highest. The pegs at either end are Boulder, CO, at 12.5 percent, and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX at 38.5%.

Obesity is linked to childhood adversity. One of the CDC’s ACE Study publications found a link physical, sexual and verbal child abuse and obesity in at least 8 percent of the adult obese population. If there are 70 million obese and morbidly obese Americans, as the CDC says, that means that several million obese and morbidly obese people are likely to have suffered physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse during their childhoods. (It should be noted that this particular publication looked at only three of the 10 types of adverse childhood experiences.)

A number of other researchers are looking into the link between obesity and childhood adversity. Here

are a few recent articles:

Poor stress responses may lead to obesity in children

Exploring the link between adversity and childhood obesity

Early depression and later heart problems

If it is indeed the case that a strong link between childhood adversity and obesity exists, then why don’t anti-obesity programs that focus on eliminating sugar-laden sodas, increasing access to nutritious foods, and encouraging exercise also include preventing adverse experiences during childhood and increasing resilience in children, families and communities?

2 responses

  1. Hello, I wanted to let you know about Safe Space Radio, a show devoted to providing a respectful and indepth conversation about stigmatized subjects to inspire courage that we can talk about these painful subjects. The last two interviews have been with Dr. Vincent Felitti, the first on the ACE study as a whole and the second on obesity and ACEs. They are each half an hour and provide a compelling and moving overview. Here are the links:

    http://safespaceradio.com/2013/04/child-abuse-and-physical-health-25-years-later/

    and

    http://safespaceradio.com/2013/04/obesitys-link-to-child-abuse/

    My name is Anne Hallward and I am the host of the show. I am a psychiatrist in Portland Maine and have been doing the show for five years. I am very inspired by your postings and look forward to reading them regularly. If there are ways we can collaborate, I’d love to brainstorm with you! my best, Anne

  2. This is all accurate and very good information, but please don’t leave out another very important factor contributing to the problem of obesity. The major influence of high fruitose corn syrup in almost every processed food product and dangerous advertising plays a significant role in our poor health. Emotionally and physically healthy children may also become obese due in part to the many poor food product choices that contain these harmful incredients.

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