What’s Behind Rising Obesity Rates in the U.S?

The increasing rate of obesity in the U.S is gravely concerning. Rates have more than doubled over the past 35 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The CDC released new national data on obesity in November of 2015, reporting that approximately 36% of adults and 17% of children and adolescents are obese The statistics are staggering, but in order to reverse the trend of this growing issue we must first look at the causes.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Modern convenience has had a profound impact on our activity levels. Technological advances now allow adults to meet for business and social gatherings without having to leave their chairs. Children, who once regularly engaged in physical play, are now immersed in a world of virtual play where they spend hours sitting in front of a screen.

Several studies have found that too much TV time is linked to both childhood and adult obesity. One such study, the Nurses’ Health Study, found that for every two hours spent watching television each day, the risk of becoming obese increased by 23 percent.

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Food Marketing

There is evidence that food and beverage marketing may be even more responsible for the TV related link to obesity than the correlated reduction in physical activity. Health Psychology found that children increased food consumption by 45 percent when exposed to food advertising and adults increased their consumption of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods after being exposed to snack food advertising.

Decreased Sleep

Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night has been linked to increased rates of obesity. Less sleep can stimulate hunger, provide more waking hours during which food can be consumed, and reduce energy needed to engage in physical activities.

Over the course of a 16 year study, the Nurses’ Health Study found that women who slept five hours or less per night were 15 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven hours a night.

Dietary Changes

American culture applauds getting more done in less time. Therefore, taking the time to eat healthy foods is not the perpetuated cultural norm. Fast food restaurants are on every street corner offering processed, high fat and generally unhealthy meals. People are generally not offered healthy, whole food options at work and logoschool so as a matter of convenience, they resort to the refined, high sugar foods available to them.

Overcoming the Obesity Challenge

Today, more than ever, there are a variety of cultural and lifestyle factors influencing unhealthy weight gain in Americans. However, this is not to suggest that we simply give in to the societal influences and allow them to influence our health and well-being. Rather, it is an indicator that we may benefit from more guidance, structure and support as we strive to meet our weight loss goals. The professional and knowledgeable team at Medifast Weight Control Centers can help you navigate and conquer the challenges of losing weight in today’s world.

Medifast in Arizona offers four convenient weight loss clinic locations including Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert and Glendale. For weight loss Arizona trusts, call us today at (602) 996-9669. Free consultation and Body Composition Analysis!

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