An old ladies' magazine which I possess has an article starting with the following sentence: "You may well be 40, but why should you be fat?"
The author was right, it's not necessary to be fat at any age. Unfortunately, obesity has become a problem in most developed countries. Contrary to popular opinion, it's not only the women who suffer from it. For instance, in my neck of the woods there are currently 53% of men vs 51% of women who are overweight, according to the government statistics. For the contrast, in France only 10% of the population is overweight.
Losing weight is much more difficult than putting it on, unfortunately. (Especially during the holidays!). Part of the problem is the unhealthy modern diet. It starts at an early age, with children eating enormous amounts of chips and drinking soft drinks which are full of sugar. (BTW, the drinks based on juice often have nearly the same amount of sugar in them, so you should always check the labels).
Sugar is everywhere, it's used as a conserving agent in foods like ketchup and all commercially baked cakes, pies, muffins etc are simply too sweet, in my opinion. Even in modern recipes for home baking I often have to cut the amount of sugar suggested by the recipe. Overconsumption of sugar is very unhealthy and can lead to the development of diabetes type 2 and as one article I had read stated, it even can stimulate the growth of cancerous cells.
There are other factors which can lead to obesity, and while the unhealthy diet is regularly mentioned in every article on this topic, I think some of them are probably overlooked. One of them could be climate control in modern houses. The very same magazine I mentioned in the beginning has an article on taking care of babies. Babies, it says, should be bathed in a warm room, with the temperature about +18*C... Yes, that's what they considered a warm room, back then. From my personal experience I must add that when I set the central heating lower a couple of years ago to reduce the costs of gas, I started losing weight in winter months. It seems to take a lot of energy to keep one's body warm!
Cheryl Mendelson in her book "Home Comforts" states that the World Health Organisation recommends 61*F (16*C) as a minimum temperature inside the house for healthy adults and older children. For young children, the handicapped and the sedentary elderly, the temperature has to be slightly higher, about 64.4*F or 18*C; at night, the temperature can be as low as 60*F (or 15.5*C) even in the houses with small children (except the very young, elderly or vulnerable people). (the edition of 1999, pp. 396-397).
I also read somewhere that if you set your heating system one point lower, you save 6% on the costs of fuel. Thus you can probably both save money and lose weight at the same time, isn't it great?