In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of t ...View Article
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Posted on 12-12-2016
Obesity: An American Epidemic
Excess body weight is an epidemic in America, affecting 2 out of every 3 citizens. One third of all Americans are overweight by medical standard, and almost another one-third are simply obese. Obesity is a significant contributor to heart disease. Recent studies have also shown that obesity is associated with increased risk of death from most forms of cancer. It is estimated that over 90,000 cancer deaths could be prevented if obesity was eliminated.
Why do we have this problem in the U.S.? In the 1950's, a bottle of Coke was 6 ounces. Today, most vending machines offer up 20 ounce Cokes packed with 250 calories each or 10 percent of all the calories the average individual needs for an entire day. The average dinner plate is 12 to 13 inches across, up from 10 inches one decade ago. Recipe books often contain the same ingredients as they did years ago, but today's editions promise fewer servings simply because we are eating more. In general, we consume an average of 500 calories per day more than our parents did. We are "supersizing" ourselves to death while much of the world is dying from malnutrition.
Although these realities may be depressing, reversing these trends is very possible with a simplified focus on common sense life changes. A primary goal for everyone should merely be to achieve normal weight. In order to do this, you do not need to read diet fad books, take pills, have surgery, or compete in marathons. Start with exercise. A brisk walk covering about a mile in 15 to 20 minutes should be done for 45 minutes three times a week. Make it part of your life, like sleeping, eating, and going to work. Obviously, the more exercise you do the better. But do not plan to do more, then end up discouraged and do nothing.
Next, eat and drink sensibly. Stop drinking sweetened soft drinks which are loaded with sugar and calories. Consume normal portions of normal food and don't leave the table "stuffed". If you have to snack between meals, eat fruit. Whatever you do, don't supersize anything, period. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Not only is this healthy for you, but it will also give you a fuller, more satiated feeling which will reduce those hunger pangs.
If you follow these simple recommendations on diet and exercise, you will have made a major commitment. That commitment is what will take you to next steps in achieving good health. It is your health after all.
P.S. Don't you just love when someone writes an article like this around the holidays? Have a Happy and Blessed Christmas Season and a Happy New Year!
Timothy S. Cheuvront, D.C., C.C.S.P.
Chiropractic Sports Physician
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