Have you ever met someone who says they’re a nutritionist? If you have, did you ask if they went to school for it or if they are licensed? Does it even matter? Continue reading
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released last week. That has caused some people in the United States to reconsider what they should and should not be eating. While the guidelines might not be your idea of reading for pleasure, there sure is a lot of information in the documents.
If you’re not looking to read through the entire thing, don’t worry! In this series of posts, I’ll be discussing what is in the Dietary Guidelines as well as how you can implement them in your daily life.
This first post is going to focus on some facts. Here are some truths about Americans and their lifestyles that you may or may not be surprised about.
To start, here are just a few statistics from the guidelines:
- For more than two and a half decades (that’s 25 years!), more than half of the adult population in the country has been overweight or obese.
- From 2009-2012, a whopping 65 percent of women and 73 percent of men were carrying extra weight.
- During the same period of time, one-third of 2- to 19-year-olds were classified as overweight or obese.
- Half of all American adults (117 million people!) have one or more preventable chronic disease.
- Most of these chronic diseases are directly related to a sub-par eating patterns and a sedentary lifestyle.
So what types of diseases are included in this set of preventable chronic diseases?
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (some forms at least, such as breast and colorectal)
- Poor bone health
Unfortunately, Americans are simply not eating healthy diets nor are they getting enough physical activity. In fact, on a scale of 1-100 on the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (with a higher number signifying a healthier diet), the population’s average doesn’t even reach 60. In 1999, the country’s average was 49. This means we’re improving, yes. But we still have a long way to go before we can classify our eating habits as “healthy.”
When it comes to physical activity, the results are even worse. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly. That’s in addition to two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities. In 2013, only 21 percent of adults met this guideline. Sure, that’s up from 18 percent in 2008, but that means 4 out of 5 adults in the U.S. are not reaching their recommended weekly physical activity goals.
With these startling statistics, it’s no wonder that the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals has continued to rise over the last quarter of a century. In the next blog post about the health guidelines, I’ll go more in-depth about diet and physical activity as well as diving deeper into what following a healthy-eating lifestyle encompasses.