The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is, quite frankly, appalling. I remember touching down in Detroit Metropolitan Airport when I first came to the U.S. to study, and thinking to myself that I'd never seen so many people with such expansive girths. I mean, there definitely were fat people where I came from, but the sheer number and size of the grossly overweight people here was simply mind-boggling.
I wasn't quite sure whether to feel amused at the sight of numerous chubbies waddling around, their elastic-waisted sweatpants scarcely keeping their bellies in check, or whether to feel a twinge of pity at what their obesity portended for their health and general well-being.
I don't think enough is being done in this country (or others that are experiencing obesity epidemics, for that matter) to halt this worrying trend as well as prevent people from becoming obese. I think everyone is aware of some of the factors that have caused this alarming trend.
Fast food/processed food made with dubious ingredients mixed with preservatives and subsequently dunked in oil, artificially flavored to jazz up your tastebuds and then smothered in a toasty yummy golden brown coloring (or fluorescent green, if you like Jell-O), is so easily obtainable and typically cheaper than natural, nutritious foods. This common perception is often flawed - healthy, yet inexpensive food sources are readily available if you make the effort to learn about healthy eating and food preparation.
The sedentary nature of the average person is another major factor. Heck, even cajoling a co-worker into taking the stairs instead of the elevator to your office on the fifth floor is far more painful than pulling teeth! It's hardly surprising, considering how with cars and all the fancy thingamajigs designed to eliminate any form of extraneous movement beyond what it takes to bend down and tie your shoelaces nowadays. People pretty much tumble out of the driver's seat, into the elevator, and into their office chairs where they remain for the entire day except for brief sojourns to the bathroom (and perhaps longer visits to the pantry, where they are more than wont to linger for a while, but that's another whole factor in itself).
I could go on and on about everything that's caused the obesity epidemic to become what it is now -- weighty, pardon the pun, but I shan't. Anyway, this article from the New York Times details one of the lesser-known consequences of this hefty situation.