Americans Getting Fatter; Working Out More

A new report by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds Americans getting fatter, despite the fact that many of them report that they are getting the recommended amount of exercise each day.  In fact, according to surveys, Americans are actually getting more exercise these days than they did ten years ago.  The report looked across the country at individual counties to see how much exercise representatives of the area got in relation to obesity rates.

Study shows Americans getting fatter, despite an increase in activity levels.

Study shows Americans getting fatter, despite an increase in activity levels.

This report emphasizes the challenge facing health care professionals when working to fight the obesity crisis the United States is dealing with.

In over two thirds of the counties in the country, both men and women have become more active physically over the past ten years.  Just recently, in the five counties that make up Central Florida, survey participants said that at least half of them got enough exercise on a weekly basis.  Sufficient, as defined by researchers, was at least 150 minutes of activity that was moderate, or 75 minutes of activity that was vigorous.

Surprisingly, the number of women that get enough exercise across all of the five counties over the past decade increased, and the Lake County showed the most improvement, with a 55.4 percent increase in women that report they get enough exercise.  That’s 11.9 percent higher than the number of women that reported ten years ago that they were getting enough exercise.  Women in Orange County showed the smallest increase, up by 3.6 percent 10 years ago to 51.2 percent today.

In Osceola and Seminole Counties, men are actually getting less activity.  The numbers dropped by 2.5 percent and .4 percent.

In fact, the report shows that women made considerable strides across the whole country.  Of the women surveyed, the overall percent of women that got enough exercise climbed from 46.7 to 51.3 percent.  Men that got enough activity was slower to increase, only going up by one point, taking it to 57.8 percent.

The increases in activity still have not been enough to slow the obesity rates, which have been rising steadily across the country over the past decade.  In fact, over one third of all people that live in Central Florida are obese, which is consistent with obesity rates across the US.  Across the country, the rates for obesity rose or stayed even in every county but nine of them.

While there has been an increase in the amount of physical activity that people get people are still becoming obese, which means that something more needs to be done to prevent this from happening.  At this time, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that over one third of adults in the United States, and an estimated 17 percent of American children, are obese.

Many health care professionals feel that there has to be a change in the diet to see even better effects than just exercise alone to help prevent obesity.  Another paper has shown that poor diets are the top contributor to the poor health of Americans compared to other nations.

It’s not an entirely lost cause however because researchers feel that, with time, the uptick in active Americans will have far reaching health benefits and help to bring down obesity rates.

Written by Tony Clark

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