First and foremost, I do not mean to offend or disrespect anyone with the content of this thread. I understand that there are medical conditions that prevent people from losing weight. This is not about them; it is about those who can but do not for one reason or another.
Personally, I struggled with being overweight from the time I was 8 until I was nearly 19, so I know both sides of the equation. My experience led me to a sort of fat phobia, in which I am utterly disgusted by body fat. I'm sure there are quite a few people here that can relate.
The past century has seen a drastic increase in prevalence of sedentary lifestyles due to a number of factors and kids (in general) these days don't seem to know what food is unless it comes from a box or a fast food restaurant. This, and other factors, have led to a the rapid increase in obesity and obesity related disease in America. You can see the CDC's data on their website. I'd post a URL, but I haven't made enough posts. Sorry.
With over 30% of Americans obese, America is the most obese country in the world and we're only getting worse. Something has to be done about it, but that's where I am lost. I heard Japan, who has an approximate obesity rate of 3.2%, has enacted legislation in order to keep the waists of their citizens nice and trim. According to the NY Times (again, not enough posts. Search Japan fat law), Japan's government has placed a limit on waist sizes at 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 for women, which are the same numbers the International Diabetes Federation uses in their guidelines for identifying health risks. Those who exceed the limits are educated on dietary guidelines and given three months to lose weight. If they do not succeed, they are entered in a re-education program.
I feel America needs to adopt similar programs. A government mandate may not be necessary; politically, we have a lot on our plate already. I do, however, believe that those of us who are fitness minded should do our part to spread the good word of health. I know I feel a lot better physically, mentally, and emotionally now that I am not overweight. I also feel that those of us who own businesses should stress the benefits to the employees.
A great example comes from my own workplace. I work for a company that matches companies up with HMOs . . . which to me is an evil job, but after being unemployed for 2 years, I took what came. We have approximately 100 people in the office and there are literally fewer than 10 who are not overweight. Being in the business we are in, I'd expect the company to pay a little more attention to peoples' weight and health in order to save money its employees' healthcare, but alas, they do not. We have people with chins that look larger than their heads and flabby arms bigger than my thighs. Most of them waddle when they walk. Aside from being disgusting, it is terribly sad.
Every time I see them, I wonder why they don't help themselves . . . maybe they don't know how. Maybe they just don't care. What if they don't know anything else but being obese? Whatever it is, something has to be done about it. The situation is only going to get worse if left unchecked.
Please, please do your part and encourage a healthy nation.