I think the rise in obesity in America comes in part from basic laziness (we’re pretty spoiled) to the high amount of stress in our competitive culture.
As I’ve gotten older and my activities have changed from working and playing in physical jobs to, as it was said, sedinary high stress marathon jobs.
For a while I was fatty, about 50 pounds over my ideal weight (250) my lifestyle continued to be as it is now until I realized exactly how much energy I seemed to lose and that I couldn’t do what I used to in terms of strength and physicality (from a play with children point of view).
That’s when I decided to go back to my previous physical activity through the gym and redevelop my cardio and energy levels, 2 years back.
I haven’t changed my eating habits, and because of my stress levels now, tend to eat smaller meals than I did when I was younger. And I’m just a few pounds above what I consider in good physical fitness and I have all the energy I need and more do to what I want (dancing, running, wrestling around with kids, taking them hiking, fishing, etc) and don’t worry about my diet one bit (outside of what normally I don’t like). The most potent fact I have of this is I am not developing the normal ‘aches and pains’ of being older that my weightier friends have. And while I maintain that we have all done something younger stupid or sportswise that we don’t have equitable physical scars (my knee gave out on me in college) and ‘tender areas’ when we overstress them.
I freely admit this is a biased feeling, but as I see my friends going through the exact same process I did (a few years younger, or older) and their thoughts and habits (eating based on the new “atkins” or “south jersey parisite” :) or whatever they decide is right diet), having no energy, can’t take a punch in the arm, etc. And the ones who have the discipline and support can lose the weight while the ones who are not, have various problems adjusting to it and are generally much more negative.
Side Note: I would like to say my story isn’t common of today’s kids (at least a significant portion) are mostly fatter, earlier because I see kids nowadays don’t like going outside like we used to and all the really killer physical things you can do as a kid (exploring, riding your bike down the dirt roads or by the dock, sports, racing, smear the queer, boxing, all that) their parents don’t have enough time to do with them due to working a million hours. So as parents we are more likely to hold their children indoors due to parental time (not having enough to keep constant attention on the kids) that the possibility of one of yours getting drowned in a canal or molested/abducted are alot more real than they used to be.