We know that we are the fattest and unhealthiest country in the world. But what does that really mean? Here are some statistics, in case you aren’t aware of how bad things have gotten:
- Worldwide, there are over 1 billion overweight adults. More than 300 million are clinically obese.
- The United States has the highest percentage of obese and overweight populations in the world. 2/3 of the U.S. population is overweight. 1/3 is clinically obese.
- 17% of children ages 2-19 are obese.
- From 1976-2008, obesity rates increased in all age groups: from 6.5% to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds; from 5% to 18.1% among 12-19 year olds, and from 13.4% to 35.1% among 20-74 year olds.
- In 2009, not one state met the Healthy People 2010 obesity target of 15%.
- Obese individuals at increased risk for the following diseases: (1) Pre-mature death (individuals who are obese have a 50 to 100% increased risk of premature death from all causes, compared to individuals with a healthy weight). (2) Heart disease. (3) Stroke. (4) Diabetes (over 80% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese). (5) Certain types of cancer (breast, uterus, colon, kidney, prostate, gall bladder). (6) Fatty liver disease. (7) Gallbladder disease and gallstones (3 times greater in obese individuals). (8) Sleep apnea and asthma. (9) Osteoarthritis & other musculoskeletal disorders. (10) Blood markers of health (Obese and overweight individuals have higher triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL:HDL ratios, and blood pressure than the average population).
EXERCISE HABITS (OR LACK THEREOF):
- 40% of adults report no physical activity.
- Only 31% engage in regular leisure-time activity (defined as 3 sessions per week of vigorous physical activity or 5 sessions per week of light-to-moderate activity).
- That means nearly 3/4 of our population is not getting some kind of regular exercise.
Type I diabetes is a genetic/hereditary condition. Type II diabetes is primarily caused by lifestyle factors/choices. Which means for the most part, diabetes is an avoidable disease. Type II diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It usually begins with insulin resistance.
- 24 million people – 8% of the population – have diabetes.
- 26% of U.S. adults over 20 years of age, and 36% of adults over age 60 (over 57 million) have pre-diabetes.
- Statisticians estimate that the number of people worldwide with diabetes will increase from 175 million in the year 2000 to 353 million in 2030.
- In 1995 the total costs (direct and indirect) costs attributable to obesity amounted to an estimated $99 billion. In 2000, that number rose to $117 billion. In 2008, it rose again to $147 billion.
- Healthcare costs for overweight and obese individuals are 37% higher than for people of normal weight. There is a 36% increase in inpatient and outpatient spending and a 77% increase in medication costs.
- Obesity and obesity-related conditions result in $98 billion per year in health care costs, $62.7 billion in doctor’s visits, $39.3 billion in lost workdays each year, and $6 billion in lost productivity.
The moral of the story is it’s time to make some tough lifestyle changes or our country, and you personally, are headed for major health and economic disasters. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Maybe you’ve reached the point where you really don’t give a damn about yourself anymore (life is too busy, it’s too hard, there are other more important things, you gotta enjoy life’s pleasures, etc.). Fine. You are an adult and can make your choice.
But what about your kids? Do it for them. Get healthy so you can play outdoors with your children, or be around to see your granddaughter get married. Or if you can’t think about you, make better choices for them. Make sure they grow up healthy and fit, and not overweight and at risk for disease.
Every research study shows that our health is deteriorating at an exponential rate, and we are afraid for the next generation. Lifestyle diseases and conditions are affecting people at younger and younger ages. With current American lifestyle habits, many children will be obese and diabetic before they have any say in it. They look to you in their formative years, and if you live like the average American these days, they have no chance of ultimately living a healthy lifestyle.
Sources: Center for Disease Control & Prevention; The Mayo Clinic; National Institutes of Health; American Heart Association; National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, & Kidney Diseases; Medscape; World Health Organization; Beaches & Poolsides everywhere!