Thursday, March 5, 2009

Little Or No Progress In Changing Unhealthy Lifestyles

“Most health care experts blame American lifestyles, and particularly the large number of Americans who are obese, as one reason why life expectancy in the United States is lower than in many other countries. They also agree that the best thing we could do to improve our health would be to reduce tobacco use, exercise more and eat less and more healthy food. Unfortunately we have not been able to do this. Every year, The Harris Poll® measures the number of people who smoke, who are overweight and obese and who wear seatbelts. The latest Harris Poll finds little reason for optimism that Americans can learn to live more healthy lifestyles. This latest survey finds that 80% of the adults over 25 are overweight by one definition (the Metropolitan Life tables) and 66% of all adults by another (Body Mass Index). It also finds that 32% of people over 25 are obese using the first definition (20% or more above the recommended weight in the Metropolitan Life tables) or 26% of adults using the Body Mass Index. These numbers are neither the highest nor the lowest recorded in recent years, however, the trend has been a remorseless increase in obesity over the last 25 years. In the early 80s, 15% of adults over 25 were obese (based on the Metropolitan Life tables). The average number for the last four surveys, from 2006 to 2009, is 35%. Obesity has more than doubled over 25 years.”

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