Leading a healthy lifestyle is critical to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the health risks that come with being overweight.
Leading a Healthy Lifestyle Needs to Be a Priority
The latest statistics on the United States’ demonstrate the obesity epidemic continues to get worse.
Despite all the emphasis on leading a healthy lifestyle, this new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the rates of obesity are continuing to increase. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey looked at data on adults and youth from 2015 through 2106.
A Shrinking Percentage of Americans are Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
The study collected data from youth between the ages of 2 and 19 and adults 20 years and older, through mobile physical examination centers across the country. The researchers then measured using body-mass index (BMI). Body mass index is the ratio between a person’s weight and height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Anything over 30 is obese.
Many Americans are Not Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
The results of this recent analysis are quite alarming:
• Nearly 40% of adults and 19% of youth are obese.
• Another survey found that 70.7% of adults are overweight or obese.
• This is the highest rate the country has ever seen in all adults.
• The overall prevalence of obesity was higher among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults than among non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian adults.
• The same ethnic pattern applies to youth.
Expert’s Views on Why Leading a Healthy Lifestyle is So Important
• The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Craig Hales, Medical Epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that since 1999, there has been a staggering rise in the prevalence of obesity, particularly in adults. There are no “signs of it slowing down.”
• Youth obesity rates seem to be a little more stable in recent years. Yet Dr. Hales cautions that it is “too early to tell,” and that we need at least four more years of data to truly understand what direction youth obesity rates are headed.
• Michael W. Long, assistant professor at the Milken Institute of the School of Public Health at George Washington University, states that what is “very striking” about this information is that there has been a 30% increase in adult obesity and 33% increase in youth obesity from 1999-2000 data to 2015-16. This has happened despite government-focused efforts to address the issue. “They haven’t done enough.”
• Healthy People 2020 is a government effort that started in 2010 to improve the health of Americans, including by reducing obesity. The goal of the project is to lower obesity rates to 14.5% among youth and 30.5% among adults by 2020.
• At this point, Long says “I have no expectation at all for Healthy People 2020 to be achieved.
The Health Risks of Not Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
According to the CDC, failure to lead a healthy lifestyle has resulted in a dramatic increase in obesity. Obesity-related health conditions include heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, which are among the leading causes of death. In addition to grave health consequences, overweight and obesity significantly increase medical costs and pose a staggering burden on the U.S. medical care delivery system.
Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, Professor of Pediatrics at Ohio State University and Director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital emphasizes that family plays an important role in curbing obesity. She advises us to teach our children to avoid fast food, eat healthy family meals together and plan fun family activities on weekends.
Click here to read the full article on how important leading a healthy lifestyle is to avoiding the health problems created by obesity.