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5 Graphs to Show Why Americans Have Become Much Less Healthy in the Past 50 Years

5 Graphs to Show Why Americans Have Become Much Less Healthy in the Past 50 Years

Americans are suffering from all sorts of health issues as a result of being overweight. More than two-thirds of Americans are now said to be above the healthy weight range, and more than one-third are considered to be obese. Louisiana is rated as the top state for levels of obesity, followed closely by Alabama, West Virginia, and Mississippi. At least 35 percent of these four states are considered obese.

National Geographic has made a list of graphs to show how Americans have become much less healthy in the past 50 years.

United States Daily Calories (1960–2011)

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less healthy

    In the United States in the ’60s, health was on a different scale. The ’60s lacked the fast food obsession and for cultural (and lifestyle) reasons, there was more emphasis on mindful eating and meditation. There was a higher consumption of dairy and eggs at this time and a lower consumption of sugar and fats. People were also more active outdoors before technology became a pivotal focus of today’s younger generations.

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      For similar reasons the 1970s remained quite similar in scale to the 1960s; however a daily caloric intake was already beginning to rise.

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        The amount of daily calories consumed on average is still rising, and an increase in the amount of sugar and fats per day is beginning to expand. It is noticeable too that a decrease in the amount of dairy being consumed is slightly lowered, which could be due to the amount of processed foods increasing; therefore the amounts of whole foods and farm produce is beginning to decrease.

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          By the 1990s the sugar and fat content is still increasing, as is the caloric intake. The ’90s saw a huge boom in information technology, and with this came a new surge in fast-food advertising and accessibility to processed foods.

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            By the 2000s the daily calorie intake has jumped by over 700 from the 1970s. This is close to half your daily needs, which is an enormous amount of difference and would very easily lead to weight gain and other health problems associated with weight gain. The level of sugars and fats that have increased over the four decades is a main concern, as are the economic reasons for these changes.

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              The changes from the 1960s in America up until now are significantly down to one thing: our level of fats and sugar content. The ways in which foods are now made and distributed is a large factor in why Americans are consuming so much sugar, which in large quantities is then turned into fat by the body. So basically, we are consuming way too much fat for the body to be able to process, and the result is  the increasing number of obese people in the United States.

              Limiting Your Health Risks

              Being aware of what you put into your body is a huge factor. Knowing both the health risks AND the health benefits can have a large impact on your overall health. It is always important to remember that  healthy body means a healthy mind. And that when we are in good physical shape we are benefiting the most from our experiences. Our bodies are our greatest ally, if we can treat them as such.

              Tools like My Fitness Pal can be a great way to keep control over how many calories you are ingesting. But overall, if we listen to our bodies we will know what it needs. Being in tune with our bodies is one of the greatest mental and physical gifts you can give yourself.

              Featured photo credit: National Geographic via nationalgeographic.com

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              Last Updated on September 18, 2020

              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

              Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

              Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

              1. Exercise Daily

              It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

              If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

              Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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              If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

              2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

              Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

              One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

              This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

              3. Acknowledge Your Limits

              Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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              Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

              Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

              4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

              Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

              The basic nutritional advice includes:

              • Eat unprocessed foods
              • Eat more veggies
              • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
              • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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              Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                5. Watch Out for Travel

                Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                6. Start Slow

                Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                Final Thoughts

                Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                More Tips on Getting in Shape

                Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                Reference

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