Americans Get Fatter – Yet Again.

What fitness professional hasn’t by now seen the 8/29/06 story by Associated Press about America’s mounting obesity problem?

Let’s bring everyone up to date, just in case:

U.S. Waistlines Continue to Grow.

Several interesting points can be gleaned from a quick perusal of the article:

1.) That obesity continues to rise at a greater rate in lower socio-economic areas is not merely a political issue, but one of diet. It’s no small coincedence that individuals in lower socio-economic strata consume cheaper (read: more processed, refined carb-heavy) foodstuffs, exhibit more chronic conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), and tend to be more on the rotund side.

2.) Dr. Jefferey Koplan, formerly of the CDC, states that as a whole, obesity is on the rise across the board. Well, except in Nevada. But this highlights the fact that our industry and government’s well-intentioned interventions are not working. There are more people than ever exercising and “eating healthy”, and yet we’re getting fatter and fatter. Something wrong with this picture?

3.) Perhaps the most incredible point: The Trust for America’s Health guesstimates that $5.6 billion could be saved on healthcare costs if a mere one-tenth of Americans began a walking program. Again with the walking programs. So here’s some food for thought – how much could be saved on healthcare if:

  • Just another one-tenth of Americans began and stuck with a strength-training program?
  • A Congressional ban on all soft drinks was issued?
  • Instantly, overnight, all the white flour and refined grain products on supermarket shelves were magically replaced with their whole grain equivalents?
What if the medical establishment’s current artificially-low “standard” for “healthy levels” of cholesterol were raised back to the 200s? (Keeping in mind that Lipitor is the #1 prescribed drug in the U.S. and the #1 selling drug in the world, with 2005 sales totaling $12.6 billion – but I’ll save my conspiracy theories for another post.)

But I digress.

Articles like this underscore the importance of educating people on the proper principles of exercise, fitness, and nutrition. And remind me why I choose to remain in this field.

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