I have a lot to say on this topic, but I think this infographic says it all:
In 1991, between 10-15% of the population of the US was considered obese (definition above, a BMI >30).
Between 1993-1995, obesity levels of about half the country jumped up to ranging between 15-20% of the population.
Between 1998-2000, those same states that were “ahead of the curve” before (or behind the curve, depending on how you look at it) jumped up to 20-25% obesity.
Between 2008-2010, check out the distribution changes. Some of those states are more than 30% obese.
And then in 2013, here’s what the data looked like… I shudder to think what it’ll look like at the end of this year.
Why the Obesity Trend?
There’s no one easy answer, but here are a few big contenders.
1) Sugar consumption.
100 years ago, we Americans consumed around 4 lbs of sugar per year. Now, the USDA estimates that the average American consumes between 150-170 lbs of sugar per year.
Stop and think about that for a second. Average of 160 LBS.
Click here to find out why sugar leads to obesity.
2) Processed food full of chemicals.
Your liver has two main jobs: to break down harmful chemicals and get them out of your body, and to break down the triglycerides (fats) that come back to it packaged up all nice and tidy inside HDL. The former takes precedence, though, so if your liver is too busy breaking down chemicals, it doesn’t have the extra reserves to break down fat.
Therefore, indirectly, processed crap makes you fat.
Your thyroid helps to determine your body’s metabolism. Hypothyroidism is super common these days. SUPER common. This article talks more about why.
4) Low Adrenal Function.
Your adrenals and your thyroid are very closely linked; sometimes low adrenal function, due to chronic stress, will put the breaks on your thyroid too.
Also, one of the jobs of cortisol is to mobilize sugar stored in your liver as glycogen… so if your cortisol is chronically elevated, the result (in terms of weight gain) will be similar to eating lots of sugar.
5) Sitting all day long.
80% of American jobs are sedentary, according to the NYT. And by the time you get home after a long day at the office, you don’t want to go work out, right?
It makes sense. But even if you make it a point to get up and walk around your office, or around the block, or up and down the stairs once every hour to two hours, it will make a HUGE difference in your health.
On top of that, the average American watches 5 hours of TV PER DAY. If you’re reading this article, that’s probably not you, but think about that. Think of allllll the other things you could be doing with 5 more hours per day! How many of your goals that you “don’t have time for” could you achieve? How much more time could you spend with your family? (Not to mention how much weight you could lose…)
What’s Your BMI?
I don’t think the BMI calculator is the be-all and end-all of determining weight distribution, because it doesn’t take body fat percentages into account — only your height and weight. It’ll be inaccurate for elite athletes, therefore… but still mostly accurate for the rest of us. That said, here’s the “key” to figure out where you fit:
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
If you’re wondering where you fit in the BMI distribution, here’s a calculator for you to figure it out.
…Don’t be a statistic. 🙂
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