There’s evidence indicating that Americans finally understand the growing epidemic of obesity.

Gyms and gym memberships are at all-time highs. Diets and video workout regimes are a billion dollar a year industries.

More than half of Americans 55 percent say they are trying to drop weight, up significantly from 43 percent in 2011, according to a recent survey conducted for the International Food Information Council Foundation.

While the concern about obesity may have hit the national consciousness, it hasn’t really shown up on the bathroom scale for most Americans yet.

In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while more Americans are putting forth greater efforts to improve themselves physically, there’s still a great lack of understanding when it comes to obesity.

What is the difference between being overweight and obese?

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the body mass index. BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Since 1980, obesity has climbed to 36 percent in 2010 — an all-time high. If it continues to grow, about 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030, according to CDC researchers.

Obesity takes a huge toll on people’s health. It contributes to a long list of serious health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver problems, degenerative joint disease and heart disease.

According to the CDC, to stop the trend, there has to be an understanding of what is the cause for obesity. One of the biggest contributors to the problem of obesity is that food marketers, manufacturers and restaurants are selling  more food in bigger portions. With larger portions, Americans do a lot of overeating.

For those on Fort Bragg who are looking to take steps to improving their physical health, there is additional help. Along with the 13 gyms all over Fort Bragg, there are also nutrition connection trainers.

“Ideally, when someone comes in to see me, I want to know what they want to do for themselves,” said Bradley Willis, Nu Co fitness manager.

“This training program that we do here is actually illustrated as a teaching program. It’s not just something that we are going to just get you into shape through exercise. We are here to systematically teach people how to do things the same way that we do it.”

Nu Co Fitness isn’t just a training regime that clients enlist in to get into better shape. The fitness trainers are there to educate and help clients change the way they look at fitness.

“Fitness isn’t just about how hard you work out,” said Willis. “The process of getting in better physical condition involves everything from fitness to the things that you put inside. You have to look at the body like it’s a machine and the things you put in it matter. You wouldn’t put harmful things inside your car and expect it to run well. The body is the same way.”

In order to give clients the best information available to help, Nu Co Fitness partners with the Army Wellness Center on Fort Bragg. This is a free service to servicemembers, Family members, Department of the Army civilians and on-post contractors.

The Army Wellness Center concentrates on enhancing six areas in the lives of clients starting with a health assessment to get a baseline for what will best help them. After the initial assessment, a physical fitness regime is recommended to help the process of weight loss. To compliment the physical training, clients are educated on nutrition and stress management.  General wellness and tobacco education round out the training to inform clients of the things to give them all the tools to be successful in their endeavor of getting healthy.

“The Wellness Center is about giving people all the tools necessary to survive in a toxic environment,” said Richard Hoke, director of Fort Bragg Wellness Center. “If you look around, there are a lot of fast food chains that are counterproductive to healthy living. We want to give (clients) tools to better understand good health and how to navigate through all environments.”

For more information on combating obesity, contact the Fort Bragg Wellness Center at 643-2101 or Nu Co Fitness at 916-0718.