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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 July 10, 2020

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

              We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

              So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

              Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

              What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

              Boundaries are limits

              —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

              Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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              Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

              Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

              Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

              How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

              Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

              1. Self-Awareness Comes First

              Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

              You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

              To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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              You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

              • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
              • When do you feel disrespected?
              • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
              • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
              • When do you want to be alone?
              • How much space do you need?

              You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

              2. Clear Communication Is Essential

              Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

              Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

              3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

              Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

              That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

              Sample language:

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              • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
              • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
              • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
              • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
              • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
              • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
              • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

              Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

              4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

              Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

              Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

              Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

              We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

              It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

              It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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              Final Thoughts

              Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

              Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

              Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

              The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

              Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

              Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

              They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

              Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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