The Public's Perception Of The Obesity Epidemic 1

But does the American open public understand the importance of the country’s weight issue? Or have people become so familiar with the “new normal” of excess weight that they don’t understand the problem? Data from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Archives inform the story. Since the earliest available CDC data in 1960, the obesity rate among American adults has increased almost threefold.

The variety of overweight and obese children has more than tripled since the seventies. These dramatic changes never have gone unnoticed by the general public. In 2000, 74 percent of adults in a Time/CNN poll said they believed there were more obese kids today than when these were young. Americans also significantly see this high incidence of obesity as a serious problem for the united states.

In 1990, close to the height of the U.S. AIDS epidemic, Americans were asked by the LA Times to name the most urgent health issues facing the nation. Less than 1 percent of the general public-mentioned obesity, significantly below the number saying AIDS (49 percent), cancers (31 percent), and non-disease issues like health care costs. However the massive public health campaigns which have been undertaken over the past decade have clearly made the feeling.

In 2013, the percentage of the public citing obesity among the most urgent health problems had increased to 39 percent, outranking even cancer. In September 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a heart attack, and the country watched as he spent weeks recovering in a healthcare facility anxiously. In the wake of the incident, Americans were asked by Gallup what they believed the chief causes of coronary attack to be.

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Nearly half blamed stress, tension, and nervousness, while another quarter said exhaustion or overwork. Though the American Heart Association (AHA) already recognized the links between cardiac disease and excess weight, only 5 percent of the public mentioned carrying excess fat as an underlying cause. America poll discovered that an overwhelming 92 percent of the public recognized carrying excess fat as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The public reputation of other health risks associated with carrying excess fat has come more slowly. A 1965 Harris study asked respondents what they thought the hazards were on their behalf individually if they didn’t “diet when they should.” About 40 percent said heart attack, ten percent high blood pressure. Only 4 percent said diabetes. When Harris asked the same question in 1980 again, the number stating heart disease stayed about the same. Those mentioning high blood pressure and diabetes both increased, to 22 percent and 10 percent respectively.

In 2002, analysts on the major Diabetes Prevention Program study reported that pre-diabetic participants could slow or stop the starting point of the disease with weight reduction and management. Ten years after this announcement, the message about diabetes acquired getting across to most of the general public. When asked by AP/NORC in 2012 tell in their own words the actual most serious health impacts were for being overweight or obese, 78 percent stated heart disease and 70 percent diabetes. However, only 1 in five (20 percent) described high blood circulation pressure, despite many decades of proof this relationship.