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.
- Eat less foods that have high amounts of solid fats, added sugars, and salt. Be attentive about the ingredients contained in the food and drinks that you buy.
- Keep meals simple. Weekday meals are as simple as grilling up a few chicken cutlets, steaming a fresh veggie, and making a salad. Woks and crock pots are convenient tools for easy meals on a work day.
- Eat fruit for dessert. Fruit is naturally sweet and satisfies our cravings. For dessert try a variety of fresh berries topped with a large dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Or freeze ripe bananas (without the peel) and whip (one at a time, please) in your food processor into a cool creamy treat that tastes like ice cream.
- Drink more water. Clear out the sodas and “fruit” drinks and make room for delicious flavored waters you can make yourself in a matter of minutes. Men should consume about 3.7 liters (about 13 cups) of water daily and women should consume about 2.7 liters (about 9 cups). A good read on flavoring water is “Drink Water to Lose Weight Recipes.”
- Switch to almond milk. It has the essential nutrients but less fat and calories than milk. It is also cholesterol free.
- Get physically active. Choose activities that you enjoy and get started. Even ten minutes each day to begin is a starting point. Every week or two add another ten minutes to your routine until you are getting at least 30-minutes of daily movement. What to read next: Exercise Is a Way to Prevent Obesity, including Genetic Obesity.
USNews.com “More Than 1 in 5 Children Could be Obese by 2020 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/04/10/young-americans-need-to-cut-calorie-intake-study accessed 8-4-12
MSNBC.com “Is Fat the New Normal?” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20895509/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/fat-new-normal/ accessed 8-4-12
EnoughDiscrimination.com http://www.enoughdiscrimination.com/ accessed 8-4-12
ADA Press Release June 12, 2007 accessed 7-15-2012
You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.
Published On: August 04, 2012