New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that Americans are actually exercising more than ever before. Despite this, obesity rates also continue to rise.
Rise In Physical Activity
This week, the CDC released new data from the National Health Interview Survey, which updates the estimates on 15 health measures based on data gathered from January to September 2017. The data showed estimates on relevant health measures such as lack of health insurance, receipt of pneumococcal vaccination, alcohol consumption, smoking, asthma episodes, and serious psychological distress.
Interestingly, the data revealed that while leisure-time physical activity is on the rise, so is obesity. Based on the data, 53.8 percent of Americans over the age of 18 met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines compared to only 45 percent in 1997.
However, despite the significant increase in physical activity among American adults, the obesity rates also continue to rise, as the data revealed 31.4 percent of American adults over 20 years old were considered obese whereas only 19.4 percent of the same group were considered obese in 1997.
Exercise Not Helping?
The federal physical activity guidelines require at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, perhaps even a combination of the two. Taking the new data into consideration, it appears that over half of American adults comply with the guidelines, and yet the obesity rates continue to rise.
What could be the reason? Perhaps a possible explanation for the rise is another significant factor that greatly affects weight gain: diet. Evidently, although Americans are spending a significant amount of time and energy on exercise, their diet does not seem to help the process of weight loss.
In fact, a 2013 report card on America's eating habits show that Americans now consume almost 500 more additional calories compared to 1970, most of which coming from cheese, flour, and fat. Further, Americans evidently still consume 78 pounds of added sugar in a single year. This kind of diet is problematic especially if taken with regard to other studies that highlight America's junk food culture and how sugar causes weight gain.
Keeping A Healthy Weight
According to the CDC, a lifestyle that includes healthy eating habits and daily physical activity is needed in order to stay at a healthy weight. This naturally varies by sex, gender, current height and weight, and activity level.
Apart from taking the content of the food eaten into consideration, the balance between calorie intake and calorie burning is also key in losing weight, preventing weight gain, or even just maintaining a healthy weight.