Why America is Fat, Broke, and Sick

24 Jun

According to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American male over the age of 20 weighs approximately 195lbs standing at 5 feet 8 inches tall. The average American woman over 20 years old weighs 165lbs and stands around 5 feet 3 inches in height. This data was collected by National Center for Health Statistics over the course of three years, from 2003-2006, but the numbers are getting larger if comparing trends from previous years.

In 2005, a similar survey was published by Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General for the “Special Eurobarometer” of the European Commission, consisting of data collected from 25 European Union Member States. The survey revealed some interesting statistics regarding the citizens of Europe; men and women ages 15 to 55+ answered questions regarding their health. The results show that the average male weighs approximately 173lbs and stands 5 feet 8 inches in height. The women of the European Union on average weigh 145lbs and are roughly 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Lets compare:

Although obviously 20lbs lighter than the United States, European average weight has increased by 0.6% over a 3 year period, beginning in 2002 when the survey was taken and ending 2005. The American norm has also increased by 2.6% for men and by 1.2% for women from the year 2002 to 2006. If statistical trends are an indicator, the numbers will be much higher for the United States when the next health survey is published. Something has happened between 1960 and 2008 which decreased the amount of healthy weight Americans by over 40%, and it cannot be blamed on McDonald’s and super sized portions alone.

The United States is one the fattest industrialized nations in the world, with a national average BMI (Body Mass Index) for men and women of 28.6 and 28.5 respectively. The body mass index is not the best tool for measuring the health of an individual, as it does not account for muscle mass and is calculated using only weight and height variables. According to the basic formula, a body builder easily falls under the categories of overweight or obese. What the BMI does provide is a general idea of a population’s size. The CDC classifies a BMI of below 18.5 as underweight, 18.5 – 24.9 as normal, 25-29.9 as overweight, and a 30 or above as obese.

Despite the growing epidemic in the U.S., a World Health Organization report for 2008 revealed that the islands of Samoa, located in the South Pacific, have the highest overweight and obese population in the entire world, leading the way with a BMI of  33.4 for women and 30.2 for men. South African women are also significantly larger than Americans, their mean BMI estimates to be around 29.2, and Egyptian women have a BMI of 29.9. The European Union member states are generally ranking in around 25 to 27, and if judging by the body mass index alone, their people are above weight recommendations. Underdeveloped countries, such as Ethiopia, led the way for the thinnest populations, however this can be very sadly attributed to their current states. India, a rather rapidly flourishing nation is statistically in the best shape, with both men and women hovering around a BMI of just 21. Japan, China, and Korea are all within the “normal” range in the lower 20’s.

Although statistics are not without margin of error, they do show a great representation of the state our country is in when comparing our growing waistlines to the rest of the world. In order to truly understand our biological changes and rapid weight increases, it is essential to dig deeper and combine all of the negative factors that are contributing to the problem. It is not only how much we eat, but what is in our food supply and its production, our medication and treatment of diseases, our lifestyles, politics, lobbyists, and government. It is important to educate ourselves as to what exactly goes into our bodies and the long-term effects of exposure. Yes, diet and excercise is surely the path to fitness and health: calories burned, over calories consumed; however sometimes even the smallest caloric intake can produce undesired results. If you would like to find out why the American population is fat, broke, and sick, follow this blog for updates containing eye-opening, scientific information, which may help you choose to live otherwise.

For sources please click on the in-text links provided above.

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6 Responses to “Why America is Fat, Broke, and Sick”

  1. Jenny Podushko June 24, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    WOW GREAT ARTICLE… well, I guess the vicious circle will never end, unless we step up as a nation and say no more…

    VISCOUS CIRCLE:
    OVERWEIGHT? >>> why? cause of the food I eat >>> BIG CORPS PRODUCES FOOD (in mass amounts with hormones because of supply and demand) >>> bad food, cheaper prices and more profit for them >>> POLITICIANS GET PAID BY BIG CORPS; so they promote them in congress >>> due to the economy, I can’t afford more then a ‘happy meal’ >>> I GAIN WEIGHT AND CHRONIC DISEASES >>> go to see a doctor >>> GIVES ME PRESCRIPTIONS >>> I lose even more money on drugs >>> POLITICIANS GET A LOT OF ‘DONATIONS’ FROM; Rx and Medicals Associations.

    I think you get where I am going with this… I bet in 2011 the survey will look like:

    Women: 210lbs/5’3 and Men: 240lbs/5’8.

    We need to fight for the ORGANIC farmers to get paid like they are worth the same amount as the deals with fast food chains – so then the prices of organic food could go down, so people wouldn’t have an excuse not to consume it; instead of McDonald’s.

    • muffinplop June 24, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      Don’t forget that most medications are not without side effects.
      Weight gain can lead to an array of physical ailments, some which are given medications with a significant increase in body fat as a side effect. What happens sometimes, is people who go to doctors for one problem, leave with a prescription which treats one issue and gives rise to another. A great example is a patient with epilepsy or seizures who is prescribed “Valproic Acid” to control them, the most common side effect of Valproic Acid is rapid weight gain. Some reports show over 50lbs or more within several months. The patient is now seizure free, yet the weight gain causes them to become dangerously overweight. They return to their doctor to treat new-found weight related issues: more medication is given. Vicious cycle, yet the root of the problem is never addressed… but I digress…

    • Faye Constantine June 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      People also need to be more aware of what they’re eating. Eliminate fast foods from their diets and increase their fruit and vegetable intake. Also learn what the best and worst foods are for your body type. Pay attention to the signs… our bodies speak to us in many ways!

      • Jenny Podushko June 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

        Exactly, I have personally felt much better after eating a lot more fruits and veggies! even if I prefer… a bowl of chips lol

      • muffinplop June 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

        absolutely right! 🙂 but the upcoming posts will reveal that even the healthiest food intake can in some ways sabotage our health and diet to produce unwanted biological side effects. Fruits and veggies are absolutely the best choice for health, yet when grown in treated soil, sprayed with pesticides, and their seeds genetically modified in labs to include genes which they have never naturally contained, the results of prolonged intake can possibly alter our own genetic makeup as well as promote hormonal imbalances.

  2. Jenny Podushko June 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    which is exactly why I have what I have 😐

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