America’s Obesity Problem – Things We Need to Do Now
A consistent news topic these days is America’s waistline and ways to stop it from expanding. With obesity rates at more than 34% of the adult population and the average American weighing 24 more pounds today compared to 1960, the problem is beyond an epidemic. And along with it has come a basket of deadly health issues including high blood pressure and heart disease whose rates have skyrocketed. What happened? It appears that the weight gain was not a gradual ascent. In 1980, the obesity rate was only 13.4%. So in a little more than thirty years, it has nearly tripled. The government has created guidelines for Americans to follow in order to deal with its obesity problem. Its main focus is making smarter food choices, and doing regular exercise. Let’s look at how these can be applied sensibly to your everyday life:
Smarter Food Choices:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. We need 4 servings of each every day and most people do not get half of that. Eat them in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins
- Go unrefined. When grains are picked they are whole and unrefined. They then go through a process that makes them easier to chew. This process also strips them of nutrients and fiber. Pick whole grains over refined grains like brown rice and bulgur that have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients.
- 3. Be Smart about your baked deserts – You don’t have to give up deserts, you only need to make sure you don’t overdo it and that the ones you pick are not loaded with hidden ingredients you don’t need. Companies like Café Valley, who provide many of the bakery items to retailers, now offer much healthier ingredients and choices. Larry Polhill, Café Valley VP has seen this transition and agrees with the current US guidelines for eating smarter.
- Sodium is not your friend – Put the salt shaker down and hide it. Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it’s smart to watch your sodium intake.
- Moderate your meat intake. Meat supplies important protein and is important for that reason. It also often contains high amounts of unhealthy saturated fat. Eat meat in small portions and aim for fish, poultry and lean red meat only.
- Choose low-fat dairy. Dairy products like milk and yogurt are a good source of calcium. Replace whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or nonfat will cut saturated fat in your diet.
- Cut Down on Sugar – Sugars of any kind, whether corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, add significant calories without any nutritive value. Use them less.
Doing Regular Exercise:
Do what you enjoy
If you prefer individual activities, try swimming, gardening, or walking. Dancing or playing tennis may be for you if you enjoy two-person activities. If group activities appeal to you, try a sport such as basketball or join an exercise class.
Fit exercise into your schedule
You can be active in short spurts throughout the day, or you can set aside specific times of the day or week to exercise. You can stay fit by combining physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, such as walking the dog or doing household chores. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity on most or all days of the week. If you combine a regular exercise routine with smart food choices, you will get healthier and lose weight.