Recently while skimming through news headlines, you may have come across some staggering health statistics. According to the latest research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, almost 60 percent of adults in the U.S are on prescription medication. Most are using medications relating to obesity, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 60 percent! That’s more than half of all adults! Although sometimes medication is necessary, we can honestly say that that number can most certainly be decreased without the use of medication, and instead through healthy diet and exercise.
Since 1999, there has been a steady rise in adults taking prescription medications. Cholesterol lowering drugs, anti-depressants, medication for diabetes, and heart disease seem to be in the running. In addition, most adults are not only taking one pill or one type of medication daily, many are taking up to 10 or 15 pills a day, between all of their prescriptions. With obesity on the rise, this just tells us so blatantly that we need to clean up our acts as a nation.
Almost 80 percent of U.S adults aren’t getting the recommended amounts of exercise every week. That number is scary! The more fast paced life becomes, the more conveniences we crave. This can be dangerous as it creates a market for more quick and easy, processed junk food and lack of physical activity. Top that with a schedule that is too packed to allow for some exercise, and you have a recipe for disaster. A few reasons why some experts argue that disease and obesity are on the rise:
- Digital world has left us in front of our screens more instead of outside playing or getting regular exercise. This goes for children and adults.
- Schedules that are too busy due to job demands. The average workday is no longer just 8 hours, it has grown to “never ending”.
- Excess consumption of sugars and starches and a lack of good fats in the diet.
- Extremely high stress levels. This leads to hormone imbalances.
- In some cities, there is a lack of outside space for recreational use. Fitness facilities are sometimes not affordable.
- An increase in commute times. This leaves many people tired and run down.
- Over-sized portions of food. Some areas or neighborhoods do not have markets that sell healthy foods which makes it difficult for individuals to keep up with eating better.
- Heavy advertising from food companies. Both children and adults are targeted by junk food companies to buy and eat these sugar laden foods. This type of advertising is very persuasive as it conveys convenience.
As a nation, something must be done to fix this epidemic. We need to be educated on what foods to eat. We must reduce portion size of meals, snacks and drinks. We need to be more active, as exercise aids in more than just weight loss, but also, depression, heart disease, and diabetes. Reducing the amount of time in front of screens (televisions, computers, and phones) is beneficial as it will increase the time we have for physical activity and allow us to spend time with family and friends. All of these changes are not only beneficial for our physical health, but for our mental and emotional health as well.