01/28/15 by Rennie Detore
The latest obesity numbers are in, and with the increase in awareness about exercising, eating right and losing weight, you'd assume that the results and rates are on a downward swing.
In actuality, the obesity rates are on the rise yet again, which means the United States hasn't made much in the way of progress as it relates to choosing the right foods or making time to break a sweat before, during or after your work day.
What hurts the most about this number is that there is so much literature and information about the negative effects of being overweight or obese, whether it is concerns about various types of cancer, heart disease or diabetes, all of which are directly linked to carrying around too much weight.
Some encouraging news out of this study showed that the younger crowd, from 18 through 29, only increased by a fraction versus the numbers taken seven years ago. But even that is hard to get too excited about, even if it modestly suggests that certain demographics that define our future are heading in the right direction.
So how exactly with so much out there to read or watch that centers on how important exercise and diet is have we not seen improvement as it relates to growing waistlines? Some who understand how these statistics are created point adamantly toward just how the final results are tabulated. For instance, obesity charts center on your body mass index (BMI) and if you hit a certain number based on the criteria (height versus weight), you are labeled overweight or obese.
The one caveat in the discussion is muscle mass and how that alters the obesity charts in the wrong direction. If you're 240 pounds and carry around mostly muscle (let's say a body fat of about 12-18%), but you're only about six feet tall, you technically aren't going to have a favorable BMI, thus putting you technically on the obese side of the fence.
That group, however, probably isn't going to sway those numbers so much so that they've accounted for the upswing in obesity figures. What often isn't talked about openly is the factors that negatively affect getting to the point that exercise is commonplace. Talking about health and fitness in an overall, general way isn't enough to get the average person to the gym more than a few times per month. You have to educate the would be exercise consumer about tips and tricks to stick with it, like exercising with a friend, finding a place to work out that is convenient or close to your home or setting realistic goals rather than assuming that a little exercise is going to produce a lot of results.
Eating is the same, too. Everyone knows that have to eat better, but the real question is how? Learning to find the right foods starts with prepping, making dinners at home the night before or packing a lunch rather than ordering food that most likely doesn't fit in with your game plan to lose weight.
One aspect of obesity that often is overlooked is status, closely followed by income. The lack of money often is directly related to being overweight or obese, citing the expense of healthy food versus spending a fraction of your hard earned dollars on microwave dinners and fried foods.
All of that is part of the continuation that needs to occur if a true dent is going to be made in those obesity numbers. Until we move past the simple "eat better, exercise more" philosophy, we'll continue to flounder when those obesity figures find the light of day.
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