The Four Reasons Americans Are Obese
In order to find a lasting solution to being overweight, we must do a root-cause analysis to determine what predisposes us to gain weight and what keeps us this way.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?
If you take a second and think back to your last trip to Disney World, you could, in your mind’s eye, compare the appearance of middle aged Americans with Europeans and elder Asians. Americans are typically overweight; Europeans and Asians are typically not.
Genetics play a part. However, it has been reported that when Asians move to the US and adopt a Western lifestyle, their weight increases and so do the illnesses that are associated with a Western lifestyle. If they move back to their native country, their weight drops. Furthermore, as our Western lifestyle is adopted in China, obesity is increasing and so are the illnesses that are associated with it and are endemic to a Western lifestyle.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT OUR LIFESTYLE THAT PREDISPOSES US TO ‘BULK UP’ AND ULTIMATELY TO BECOME OBESE?
1. We Are Sedentary
Technology, computers, cell phones, cars, boats, trains and planes etc., have helped facilitate us becoming sedentary. In addition, economic demands drive us to be more efficient and productive both professionally and personally. We adults set a poor example for our children who are spending more of their lives online, watching TV and playing video games, as opposed to being physically active. Did you know that some kids take gym online at school?
2. We Don’t Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals
Many of us who work are either in single adult households or have a significant other who also works.
After a hard day at the office, we often do not have the time or the energy to prepare a well-balanced, healthy meal. In fact, most of us do not know what a well-balanced meal consists of.
If you find yourself doubting this assertion, check out the parking lots of the local fast food restaurants around mealtime. You will witness that many people don’t expend a calorie of energy as they use the drive-through to get their dinner. And then there’s the irresistible temptation to “supersize it” for an additional 99 cents! ― filling us up with excess calories which unknowingly take many of us down a path of no-return.
3. Stress, Boredom and Emotional Triggers
There are a variety of things that trigger each of us to eat even when we are NOT hungry.
Many of us eat to soothe ourselves or because we are bored. Some of us eat to ‘zone out’ and ‘escape’ while others eat to decompress.
Stress and how we cope with stress affects what we eat as well as how much we eat.
4. Processed Foods Are Addictive
The fourth, and probably the most complicated piece to the puzzle is that certain foods are TRULY addicting. The things that we crave affect us like drugs. I contend that the manner in which we respond to and ingest certain foods substantiates that they are both physiological and psychological addicting. Because of our connection to certain foods, and our desire to ingest them, we are not able to recognize this reality. The foods that we think are our friends are not.
About the Author
Dr. Barry Schiff, MD is the Medical Director of CardioMender, MD Weight Loss Specialists located in Pembroke Pines, FL. He is board certified in Cardiovascular Diseases and in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Schiff has served as Chief of Medicine and as Chief of Staff of Memorial Hospital Pembroke and has been practicing clinical cardiology in the South Florida community for over 25 years. He has also served as Physician CEO and President of University Heart Institute Cardiovascular Group in Pembroke Pines, FL.
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