Obesity is a national epidemic and a major contributor to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. More than one third of U.S. adults — 35.7 percent of us — qualify as obese according to National Institute of Health guidelines and the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents, especially among minorities, has almost tripled since 1980.
The obesity epidemic has given rise to another epidemic, Type 2 diabetes, which is a man made disease. No hunter-gatherer ever suffered from this disease and it was extremely rare in our great-grandparents’ time. But today, thanks to the excessive amount of sugar that we consume and our lack of exercise, it’s become extraordinarily common. “We evolved to crave sugar because sugar is an energy-rich food,” Harvard professor of evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman explained in an NPR interview with Terry Gross, “but we didn’t evolve to digest large amounts of it rapidly.”
In this New Year, we need to change our diets and the ways we think about and consume food. But to get there, it has to be a community effort. Here are 10 ways we can all work together to create a fitter, healthier society