by Matt Weik
If nothing else, this article should be a wake-up call to all Americans that something needs to be done regarding their health and weight before it’s too late. I’m not here to “body shame” or “promote any sort of negative body image,” but rather explain the reality of how out of shape and unhealthy Americans really are. Quite frankly, it’s down-right frightening to see these new statistics.
It’s no surprise that American waists have been growing for years. However, nothing has ever been reported this high – EVER. For the first time, the US obesity rate has surpassed 40%. In fact, the actual number is 42.4% if you want to be precise. We are on track to see 50% sooner rather than later unless Americans start taking their health and fitness more seriously.
What Is Causing the Soar in Numbers?
Plain and simple – American adults are more sedentary now than they ever were. Obviously, the pandemic didn’t help things, but the trend has been going up regardless. What’s even more worrisome is that childhood obesity is also on the rise.
With the advent of technology, Americans are privileged with the ability to do just about anything from their phones and devices. Heck, you can even change the television channels directly from your phone these days.
Unfortunately, everyone seems to have an excuse as to why they don’t focus on their weight and health. If you were to add up all of the excuses, there are hundreds of reasons mentioned why someone says they don’t have time to exercise or eat a well-balanced diet.
The main issue is that it comes down to CHOICES. Eating well and exercising is a matter of making the choice to prioritize that part of your life. Eating junk and sitting on the couch was prioritized and a choice over getting up and moving and grabbing a healthy meal versus something processed or that is high in unhealthy fat.
What Does the Future Hold?
This is simply my opinion, but the future doesn’t look good. As mentioned earlier, I believe we are on track to hit 50% in the next 10-20 years (maybe even sooner?). When looking at the bigger picture, what does this rise in obesity mean as a whole? Well, if you think the obesity rate of adults going up is an issue, what do you think that means for children?
If adults in the US are eating junk, do you think they are making healthier meals for their kids? Nope. If adults in the US are sedentary and spend their time in front of the television or electronic devices, do you think they tell their kids to be active? Nope. Children mirror their parents and watch everything they do. Essentially, they are their own child’s role model – or rather a poor example. So, what example are they setting by adding to the obesity rate?
Something needs to change – and fast. Here’s something you can do in your everyday life and travels. The next time you drive by a park or playground, look to see how many kids there are. You may be surprised that all of them you pass, they are empty (or maybe have a couple of kids playing).
What happened? 30 years ago, those same playgrounds and parks were flooded with kids playing. Again, it comes down to technology. After school, kids are going home and hopping on their laptops, phones, and tablets to play video games and chat with their friends. It’s crazy to think that neighbors will chat via text and messenger services rather than go outdoors and hang out.
Who’s to blame? Everyone. Could you blame parents? You could, they are the ones who are poor role models. Could you blame technology? Sure, but no one forced parents to purchase devices for their kids to use. This article isn’t meant to put all of the blame on parents and adults, but if the shoe fits…
How Can We Fix This?
To be honest, it’s not complicated. I’m not sure why Americans make things harder than they really are. It’s no more difficult to make a healthy meal than it is to make an unhealthy one. You still have to go to the grocery store to purchase food, you still have to prepare the meals, and obviously, you need to sit down to eat. The process is no different.
When it comes to exercise, all you need in order to see health benefits is 150 minutes of physical activity. Best of all, YOU get to choose what you do. Walk, run, jog, go hiking, ride a bike, lift weights, simply put… MOVE. If you were to break down 150 minutes, that would mean you’d only need to engage in physical activity five days a week for 30 minutes. That’s it! And you can even break things up into smaller sections like 10-minute increments throughout the day.
What we really need to happen to reduce the obesity rate is to have adults and children engage in activities together. Make it a family affair. Make healthy meals as a family. Go for a family walk after dinner to get in your 30 minutes of physical activity. Start incorporating some healthy habits into your family and show the entire family how easy it is to make healthier lifestyle choices.
The obesity rate isn’t going to decrease without some work done on the part of American adults. What do you think the future holds for Americans and the obesity rate? Do you think we can ever get it under control? Let us know down in the comments.