Surprise: Americans Living Less Healthy than Before

Adam Eisman - Contributing Writer
Posted on Sunday 31st May 2009

Studies have shown that a high quantity of fruits and vegetables in your diet, combined with exercise, a good night’s sleep and an aversion to smoking is a pretty simple recipe for a long and healthy life, though further studies suggest that most Americans are not interested in living well.

The Medical University of South Carolina-Charleston recently published a study showing that Americans are trending in a fatter, unhealthier trajectory. The study reports that Americans between the ages of 40 and 74 with a body mass index over 30 (the threshold denoting obesity) has increased from 28% to 36% between 1988 and 1994. The study also found that physical activity in all Americans at least 12 times a month has declined by about 10% to 43%.

Further findings include:

  1. Despite aggressive anti-smoking campaigns, the number of adults who smoke is relatively unchanged over the time period, only decreasing .8% to 26.1%.
  2. Eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day has decreased from 42% to 26%.
  3. Casual alcohol use has increased from 40% to 51%.
  4. The number of people who take each piece of the advice listed at the beginning to heart dropped from 15% to 8%.

It is easy to understand how one should live in order to avoid major health problems, but it is much harder to follow the rules to the letter. But if you go outside and play every once in a while, eat real foods that aren’t full of highly processed ingredients, and avoid foods with pesticides and other chemicals, you will certainly be on your way to living a full and healthy life.

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