The Cost of Being an Obese Nation

A new study came out this week which is both frightening and encouraging at the same time.  Trust for America’s Health & the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a report projecting America’s waistlines to continue to bulge at an alarming rate.   It is projected that by 2030, 42% of adults will be obese.  Not just overweight, but OBESE!!  Mississippi is already at 34.9%. 

And naturally, healthcare costs will rise along with obesity.  The American Journal of Preventative Medicine concluded $550 billion will be spent in healthcare costs between now and 2030 as a result of rising obesity rates.  That’s a lot of money, a lot of tax dollars.  Currently it is estimated the yearly medical cost to treat adult obesity is somewhere between $147 billion and $210 billion.  That is just to treat adult obesity, not child or teen obesity.  Statistics like that are a good reminder that although lettuce and fresh produce may be more expensive than lean cuisines or spaghetti-os, in the long run, they really are cheaper in the long run. (I have to remind myself of that often when I shop because veggies can be so pricy!!)

It’s hard to know how to be healthy.  We live in a society that constantly feeds us clashing messages.  Down the I-15 corridor there are back to back billboards that advertise trading the game controller for outdoor physical activities, and purchasing Mike and Ike’s candy.   Our brains must be overloaded with all the new health studies, diet tricks, products to avoid, super human foods, and ideas at how best to exercise our body type. 

Being healthy has gone from a no brainer (baby boomer generation), to a confusing pool of contradicting information (generation y).   Doctors and health care professionals further promulgate this problem by offering pills and quick fixes instead of solid, well grounded advice.    It is dog eat dog industry out there, and we Americans are in the middle of it, anxiously waiting for someone to tell us how to really be healthy.

Well I don’t think the industry will ever relent; I don’t think doctors will ever agree on a correct way to be healthy.  But people and organizations are really starting to jump on the health train.  Michelle Obama for example, has had a great impact in bringing awareness to proper nutrition and physical exercise.  Food Network star Jamie Oliver has brought a lot of attention to the unhealthiness of school lunches. 

As a result of this increased attention on nutrition/health, things are beginning to improve.  Schools offer healthier choices while eliminating less healthy choices.  Sugary drinks and vending machines have been taken out of certain school districts in California.  Insurance companies offer incentives for healthy lifestyle choices.  Philadelphia public schools have increased physical activity levels in school, offer healthier meals, including breakfast to its students. As a result, its obesity rate has started to decline.  Philadelphia also allows food stamps to be used at local farmers markets, giving more healthy choices to lower income individuals.  There are

Philadelphia lunch lady shows off some of their healthy lunch options.

so many creative, and easy ways to promote health. It is to exciting to see what people come up with!

So perhaps being healthy is a matter of health as well as fiscal responsibility.   I HOPE we’re right around the corner from government issued incentives to healthy Americans.   If I got a tax break for exercising, I can tell you one thing, I’d take it!!!!!  Or even better: if I got to use the HOV lane for eating all my veggies, or got to use a fast track lane at the DMV for not drinking soda… Ahhhhhh I’m starting to day dream.

An Interesting Experiment

This story is too great not to share.  Thank you Nate Bagley for sharing it with me!  Drew Manning is a personal trainer by profession.  To get a better understanding of what it is like to lose weight, he decided to gain 50-60lbs in SIX MONTHS!  Move over Oprah!!  This is Drew’s story and photo-journal of his body transformation.  It has been very interesting to follow, and strangely inspiring.  Check out his Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit story

PS How are the New Years resolutions coming?  We’re officially one month in, can you believe it?!  I’ll admit, I played catch up yesterday, trying to stay on track with a few of my goals.  Reading two books a month?  Yeah, that certainly didn’t happen.  But February is offering a promising, fresh new start. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society here I come!  (Thanks to Mom and Tara for the excellent literary suggestion)

Sexy Butts!

>I’m really excited about this post, because, well, it wasn’t me who wrote it.  I have invited my first ever guest blogger, Natalie, to write about summer exercise.  A survivor of a half iron man, countless marathons, half marathons, triathlons, team relays, and numerous other outdoor competitions, Natalie takes the cake when it comes to training and exercising.  Therefore, read this blog carefully.  She also has her own blog, which is full of humor, tips, tricks, and giveaways. 

SUMMERTIME!  The days are longer, the weather is nicer and we seem to have all this extra time on our hands 😉

Most peoples’ excuse for not working out is a lack of funds to pay for the gym membership! I understand gyms are expensive and possibly intimidating.  However, summertime is the perfect time to get into shape, develop the habit, all while not breaking the piggy bank!
Below I have listed the top three activities I enjoy doing during the summer months:

1. Hiking/Trail Running, this is perfect because you can go pretty much anywhere and usually the trails are shaded which helps to keep you cool in the heat. It is also a big stress reliever and you have the option of going alone or with family and friends.  If you are really feeling like breaking a sweat, I recommend doing sprint repeats up the hills. For example, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds up the hill then walk or do a recovery jog before repeating. I also like to pack a lunch, that way I get the added bonus of carrying weight which makes me work harder (burning more calories)!

2. Bicycling, this is also a great family event and will help get your cardio and legs into tip-top shape.  I like to mix up the leisure ride with some fast one-to-two-minute intervals. By this I mean going pretty hard and really feeling the burn in the legs for a few minutes followed by some easy riding in between each interval. Be sure to get online and check where the local trails are. I know in Davis County we have the Legacy Trail which is great for beginners and advanced riders!

3. Yard Work, some like to do it, others don’t, but it has to get done. It is a great cross training activity to really help strengthen your upper and lower body.  You can also work on your summer tan 😉

So throw on your short –shorts and tank top and get out there, break a sweat and burn some calories.