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