America is Becoming Fatter
We have become a sedentary society, sitting at a desk 8+ hours a day and spending another 1-2 hours in our cars commuting. And because we lack both the time and energy to prepare traditional meals for our families, we also have become a society reliant on the convenience of highly-processed foods. The result of these two contributing factors is that 60% of Americans are currently overweight or obese, according to CDC estimates. To learn more, read Obesity Epidemic in America – How Did It Begin?
It is further projected that overweight and obese people will likely total 80% of the adult population by 2020 and more than 1 in 5 children will be obese . So as the average person in 2020 will be carrying more weight than is considered normal, and if we equate “average” as being the norm, then will fat be the new normal?
In fact, we are beginning to accept our fatness. A study published in Economic Inquiry back in July 2007 found that the standards for acceptable body weight relax as the average weight of the population increases; in turn, people’s weights continue to rise in response to the lessening of social standards.
While the fundamental principal of size acceptance is sound: We should not be the targets of hatred or discrimination because we are overweight or obese; we must realize that there are serious health consequences looming.
Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease can lower your quality of life. Obesity also can worsen conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity has been linked to cancer. It even can lead to an earlier death.
If Overweight and Obese are Becoming the Norm,
What Can We Can to Change That?
This new “normal” is simply not healthy. And while making lifestyle changes to promote a healthier weight can seem overwhelming, there are steps we can take to begin the change:
- Eliminate highly-processed foods from your home. Focus on the perimeter of the food store while shopping – that is where the fresh foods are located. Here are two rules of thumb: 1) if your grandmother would not recognize an ingredient on the food label then don’t eat it, 2) if you cannot pick it or hunt it then don’t eat it.
- Incorporate more fresh vegetables into your diet. They are filling and packed with nutrients and help you to stay fuller longer. Here’s a tip – Take your kids to the local farmer’s market. Introduce them to the people who grew the vegetables displayed before them and let them pick out one new vegetable to try.
- Keep protein portions lean and small – 4oz of meat, chicken, or fish is an adult serving. Throw out your deep-fryer and hold the gravy! Grilling, broiling, or poaching all are approaches that will not add extra fat.