One of the most troubling statistics related to current health trends in the United States is the fact that 25% of all Americans live a sedentary lifestyle. This means that one out of every four people in the United States get zero exercise or physical activity. What makes this even worse is recent studies have demonstrated that living a sedentary life is just as detrimental to the body as smoking 1 ½ packs of cigarettes a day. While most people are aware of the health risks of smoking, many people do not link lack of physical activity to potential serious health concerns.
Obesity is becoming an epidemic in the United States with estimates that 1/3 of the adult population is currently obese. What’s worse in this case is the fact that more and more children and young people are within the obese category. Studies have demonstrated that children that are obese have a substantially higher risk of heart disease as an adult. Poor dietary choices, lack of education, and lack of exercise are what I see as the main causes of obesity in our country. In my opinion I feel that while genetics can play a small part in a “predisposition” to being overweight, it has more to do with the choices the individual makes. My entire family is overweight, with most members falling into the obese range and at one point in my adult life, I too battled with obesity. That experience demonstrated to me that if I could lose weight, then so could the rest of my family if they made the commitment to do so. I made the choice to do something about my weight by eating a clean diet and adding exercise to my daily routine.
Another area of concern in the United States is the ever rising healthcare costs. Being overweight and non-active almost certainly doubles the need for medical care as we age, and more and more insurance companies are denying coverage or increasing premiums for those people that are obese. I too have some experience with this being that prior to losing weight, I was faced with being put on both cholesterol and blood pressure medications, for what the doctor said could potentially be for the rest of my life. It was amazing that within 60 days of exercising and losing weight, both my blood pressure and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels were within the healthy range. All it took to avoid being put on medications for the rest of my life was losing weight and making the commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. So that being said, I became a huge advocate for health and fitness and I hope that we all can become passionate about taking our health and wellness seriously. Even if you are fit and eat a well balanced diet, go out and inspire others to join the wellness movement. We can all use a little motivation to push ourselves to be more active and improve our nutritional intake and our quality of life depends on it! Prior to starting a nutrition or exercise routine, check with your trusted healthcare professional to evaluate any potential risks.