Pick up most any weight loss book and one of the first things the authors usually address is scaling back on portion sizes and reducing your calorie intake. However, Medical News Today reports that a study just published by the American Journal of Medicine now points to lack of exercise as the biggest culprit in the growing obesity crisis, potentially changing the focal point behind what it takes to get thin.
Researchers from Stanford University analyzed data from 22 years of eating, exercise, and obesity among participants involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Between 1988 and 2010, some interesting trends developed:
- A yearly rise in body-mass index (BMI) for both males and females, approximately 37% annually for each
- Growing waistlines for women at the rate of 0.37% and for men at the slightly lower rate of 0.27%
According to conventional weight loss wisdom, one may attribute these increases to the prevalence of fast food, super-sizing, and more emotional eating to deal with the stressors so common today, but the researchers found that daily caloric intake didn’t really change all that much in this two-decade time span. What did change, though, is the amount of exercise people were getting (or, actually, the amount that they were not getting).
When the data was examined, researchers discovered that the number of sedentary people went from just over 19% to over 50%, or, more than double. If this trend continues, by the end of the century, hardly anyone will be exercising and obesity will be almost unstoppable, raising mortality rates through the roof and depriving our children and grandchildren from living long and healthy lives. This adds to research published last year showing that 80% of Americans fail to meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.
Certainly, eating nutritious foods is still part of a healthy lifestyle, as is engaging in regular chiropractic care, but so too is getting physically active. It’s not just your health that depends on it. It’s your life.
Uri Ladabaum, et al. Obesity, abdominal obesity, physical activity, and caloric intake in US adults: 1988-2010. The American Journal of Medicine 2014.