To understand the true size of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight.
Generally, doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5’9” tall.
CHECK YOUR BMI HERE
As for what is driving America’s chronic weight problem, there are no definite answers. the preponderance of evidence points to the two causes most people already suspect: too much food and too little exercise.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American ate almost 20% more calories in the year 2000 than they did in 1983
CALORIE INTAKE IN 1983 VS 2000
Today, each American puts away an average of 195lbs of meat every year, compared to just 138lbs in the 1950’s.
195lbs of meat every year
138lbs of meat every year
Grain consumption rose 45% since 1970
INACTIVITY IS THE NEW NORMAL
Lack of exercise is also a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. It’s been decades since most Americans worked in fields and on factory floors, a far greater majority of us are sitting throughout our workday.
This means less exercise each day
Only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity, as opposed to 50% of jobs in 1960.
A number of other factors are thought to play a role in the obesity epidemic, such as the in utero effects of smoking and excessive weight gain in pregnant mothers.
BEFORE WE ARE EVEN BORN
Genetics and age do strongly influence metabolism but, as the CDC points out...
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