Shocking Statistics about Weight in America

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Using statistics gathered by the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, researchers recently published predictions about future trends in weight in the journal Obesity. Using past trends they calculated where our collective weight is heading. This really is shocking – if current trends continue for the next 40 years the same way they have for the last 30 years:

100% of the American population will be overweight or obese in 2048.

Here is where we stand today:

  • 66% of the total adult population in this country is currently overweight or obese.
  • 78% of African-American women are currently overweight or obese.
  • 75% of Mexican-American men are currently overweight or obese.

Here’s a link to more statistics and more information on America’s obesity epidemic at the Weight-control Information Network.

Wow! Is it any surprise so many of us are struggling with our weight?

You Are Not a Statistic

There’s some good news, too. The study I wrote about in last week’s post supports other studies that have found adequate amounts of physical activity can prevent people from becoming overweight or obese. Both “nature” (our genes) and “nurture” (our behaviors) are responsible for our weight. You do not have to be a statistic, regardless of your genes.

Two Perspectives on the Weight Problem in America

Perspective #1: It Is Not Your Fault, Society is to Blame

True. Our American way of life is responsible for both our collective weight problem and poor state of health. We live in suburbs that require us to drive everywhere. We are finally beginning to realize that walkable communities and getting out of our cars would be better for us – but that’s not how we built our neighborhoods or how we currently live. Too few of us live in neighborhoods where our children can safely ride bikes to school. Most of us don’t live in a place where we can walk to the post office, bank, drug or grocery store – we have to drive there.

Americans work longer hours than almost any other country on the planet, so we have the least leisure time to enjoy physical recreation. The fast food we eat (because we don’t have time to prepare meals) is nutritionally unsound and contains excessive calories, fat and sodium and insufficient nutrients and vitamins. The majority of us work in occupations that include little or no physical activity at all. Then we spend our scant “leisure” time eating in restaurants, at spectator sports, or in front of personal computers or TVs. Even occupations that were once physically demanding have become sedentary through the use of machinery. No, it’s not your fault you are struggling with your weight, but laying blame won’t fix the problem.

Perspective #2: You – and Only You – Can Shape Your Personal Destiny

True. Whether you are 15 or 50 years old, 15 lbs or 50 lbs overweight, is it really smart to wait around for the next 20 to 40 years hoping our society will remodel itself to take better care of you? Do you honestly believe they will come up with a pill that will allow you to eat all you want, never exercise and yet look and feel as svelte and glamorous as your favorite movie star or professional athlete?

Be a Maverick. I founded Maverick Health years before the word “maverick” became associated with John McCain. I chose the name Maverick Health because every one of us needs to be a “maverick” where our health is concerned. Until we start making up our own minds about how we spend our time, what we eat and how we manage our emotional lives, we will continue to follow along with the herd growing ever larger and inevitably sicker.

You can not control your genes, your gender, your age or the landscape of your neighborhood and town. But you can control how much physical activity you get, the types and amounts of foods you eat, and the emotional landscape in which you live.

Be a Patriot. America’s future depends on all of us. America has enemies who are training hard to defeat and destroy us. Now is a time we need to be strong – stronger than our enemies. It is time to boldly fight back – against apathy at home and terror wherever it may reside. Let’s not continue to fatten ourselves up for slaughter. We are a better, a stronger and a braver people than that.

Will you pledge to yourself to become a maverick? It’s not a Democratic or Republican Party thing – it’s a personal commitment that you make to yourself. Isn’t now the time? Isn’t today the day?

This information is offered for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat. For that please seek direct care from a health professional.

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