America is on a downward spiral. We are the most obese country in the world with over one-third of us overweight, and that number keeps climbing every year. In fact, by 2030 we will be double our current rate. This blog post is going to explore why America has such a high obesity rate and what we can do about it.
The US was once among the healthiest countries in the world, but now it’s not even in the top 20 for fitness levels according to The World Health Organization (WHO). Americans have been getting heavier since 1980 while other developed countries have seen their rates stay steady or decline. There are many reasons behind this trend including changes in food production techniques, consumption choices, sedentary lifestyles, and more recently mental health issues and genetic factors.
Changes in Food Production Techniques
The US has the highest obesity rates for a few reasons, but one of them is how we grow our food. Since the 1950’s farmers have used improvements in technology to increase production efficiency and this has also led to an increase in meat consumption by as much as 300% (1). We’ve taken healthy fruits and vegetables like spinach which had been grown healthy and sustainable for thousands of years, and are now grown with pesticides. The result is the cheapest food you can buy at your local supermarket which comes fueled by antibiotics and growth hormones.
The problem here is that healthy food costs more than unhealthy food, so most people choose to spend their money on cheap calories in order to save money. We’ve gotten so used to the cheap price of food that healthy meals now seem expensive. In fact, healthy food costs less than unhealthy options but it just seems more expensive because healthy foods are often missing a cheap ingredient like chemicals which give you no nutritional value.
According to the CDC, Americans are eating too much fat, salt, and sugar. We consume way more calories than we need to live healthy lives. An adult needs 2,000-3,000 calories a day depending on his or her weight while teenagers need up to 4,000 calories per day because they have faster metabolisms. A healthy breakfast in America can easily rack up 1,000 calories which is much more than the average person needs. Why do we have this problem? The answer is simple: appealing food packaging.
We’re getting lazier and we don’t live healthy active lifestyles. We spend most of our time sitting at computers or driving in cars which does not burn much energy. Not only that, but many jobs are so sedentary that your body simply doesn’t work hard enough to develop healthy habits. A healthy lifestyle is something you have to make the effort to maintain and it is getting harder and harder for most people.
Mental Health Issues
Many experts agree that mental health issues like depression are a major factor in the obesity epidemic, but we don’t know how much they contribute. Some studies suggest that this could be a major reason why so many Americans have weight problems, but it’s also possible that people who don’t take care of themselves are more prone to depression. It may be a chicken or the egg situation, although I suspect genetics play a role in both because our society has become so sedentary and mentally unhealthy.
Psychological studies have linked poor mental health with weight issues but how is this healthy? People who are less healthy don’t realize it, so they keep eating unhealthy food and don’t exercise. This causes them to gain weight until their health is severely affected.
It’s important to point out that some genetic traits make people more prone to obesity which means healthy living must be a priority for anyone who has these genes. If you’re healthy you can still keep your weight healthy but if you’re at risk because of your genetics, there’s no way to escape the obesity epidemic.
Genes can determine whether or not a healthy lifestyle is possible for you so please be aware of your family history before blaming yourself for any health problems like obesity. The American Medical Association lists several genes that affect obesity which is associated with heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
America is the most obese country in the world, and it’s not just because people are eating more. There are many reasons behind this trend including changes in food production techniques, consumption choices, sedentary lifestyles, and more recently mental health issues and genetic factors. Whether you want to lose weight or stay healthy for your family members with obesity-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, there are steps that everyone can take today to avoid becoming a statistic. Avoiding sugar-laden beverages by drinking water instead will help keep calories manageable. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will give us enough fiber to feel full without adding lots of extra fat from meats into our diet (which also has been shown to increase mortality risk). And finally, we should have a goal in maintaining our healthy lifestyle to make it a part of our life.
Healthy American Lifestyles
Healthy American Lifestyles is a site for everyone serious about getting going on improving their health and life. Did you know the United States is far from the healthiest nation in the world? The United States is in 33rd place between the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina! Few Americans have a lifestyle that is considered healthy and we’re here to change that.
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