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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.

 

3 Factors That Contribute to Obesity in America

Mark Neumann

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America is in the midst of a health crisis. Not only is one-third of the population obese, our country has the highest rate of obesity in the world. Genetics plays a role in health and weight gain, but this crisis goes far beyond genetic predispositions. Factors including poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles play a major role. Find out contributing factors of obesity in America and how we can break the cycle.

Unhealthy Behaviors

When people consume more calories than they burn, they gain weight. Americans are more sedentary than ever, with occupations that require sitting in a chair for most of the day. While they don’t move much, most households consist of two adults who work full time outside the home, so they have less time for food preparation. It’s easier to grab meals at a drive-through than go to the grocery store and start from scratch.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans produced by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommend a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Americans who want to maintain a healthy body weight should switch from foods that are dense with calories and fat to healthier options.

The same organization also produces physical activity guidelines for Americans, advising individuals participate in 150 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity a week or 75 minutes of intense activity. Regular physical activity improves metabolism and helps prevent a range of chronic diseases.

Environmental Factors

Most people don’t start out on the road to obesity intentionally. Pounds creep on as they’re influenced by what’s around them. Parents might not encourage their children to play outside because they’re worried about their safety. Adults may work under pressure to meet tight deadlines that keep them glued to their chairs.

Some people make the wrong food choices because unhealthy food often costs less. Restaurants serve large portion sizes, tempting individuals to overeat. Medical conditions and prescription medications can also contribute to weight gain.

Sleep Deprivation

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently found 35 percent of Americans, over one third, don’t get enough sleep. Several studies suggest sleep deprivation increases an individual’s risk of obesity. When people are awake longer, they typically consume more calories. They feel tired and are less likely to exercise.

Sleep deprivation also disrupts the hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Guidelines recommend individuals get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

If you’re concerned about maintaining a healthy body weight, Dr. Mark Neumann can help. Develop an individualized weight loss program for maximum success when you contact MSN Healthcare today.