Americans face an increasingly prevalent and dangerous pandemic – and our own bad habits are to blame. A recent study suggests that more than 50% of Americans are “overfat,” and the condition cannot be detected by just stepping on the scale. The overfat pandemic has led to increases in a myriad of serious illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. If we can better understand the nutritional issues Americans face and build healthy exercise habits, we may be able to end the overfat scourge.
According to a study, published in the peer reviewed journal Frontiers in Public Health, 90% of males, 80% of females, and 50% of children in the U.S. may be overfat. The term overfat refers to an excess of body fat that increases the risk of disease. If the circumference of the waist at the level of the belly button measures more than half of one’s height, the individual is likely overfat – regardless of the more common measurements like weight or BMI.
Researchers noted that being overfat may cause nervous system inflammation, depression, cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other serious illnesses. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine notes that body fat and cancer may have a causal relationship, and Liberty Nation reports that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is projected to become the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020. The prevalence of excess body fat in the U.S. is a product of insufficient exercise and the high consumption of fatty foods.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults and children should complete thirty and sixty minutes of physical activity each day, respectively. However, as noted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 20% of adults and 32% of children are meeting the physical activity requirements. Moreover, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, about 75% of food purchases in the U.S. include high-calorie foods, such as cookies and sodas.
Many Americans feel pressured into poor food choices by the financial burden of buying healthy foods as opposed to the less expensive and often more convenient sugary, fatty, and high-calorie foods. However, frequent ingestion of unhealthy foods causes hunger urges and even addiction. Such consumption is modulated via mu opiate receptors, the same receptors that bind morphine, as noted by Science Daily. In contrast, consuming foods higher in protein enhances nutritional benefits and suppresses hunger urges. As a result, unhealthy foods may be equal to or greater in cost compared to their healthier counterparts – as they cause individuals to eat more frequently and purchase more nutritionally inferior foods to satisfy cravings.
Potato chips and soda can be a tough addiction to break – especially the habit of mindlessly munching in front of the TV alone. However, this deadly pandemic can only be stopped by individuals choosing to eat and live more healthily. So put the Cheetos down and get up and move like your life depends on it, because it does.