Why is America exercising more but gaining weight?
Over the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has increased by more than 10 percent. Ironically, during the same time period, the percentage of U.S. adults that met the federal guidelines for physical activity increased by almost as much.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their findings from data gathered January through September 2017. This study showed that 31.4 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and above were obese, compared to 19.4 percent in 1997. It also showed the percentage of adults aged 18 and over who met the federal guidelines (as established in 2008) for aerobic activity was around 53 percent, having increased from 1997, when it was just under 45 percent.
What’s the explanation for these trends, which seem to be at odds with one another?
“I have found that it takes both exercise and a healthful diet to lose weight,” says Moriah Gramm, clinical dietitian at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.
“If individuals are eating foods high in solid fats, added sugars and excess sodium, they may find they aren’t losing any weight because they are filling their bodies with unhealthy calories and only burning off a portion of those calories through physical activity.”
The debate over whether diet or exercise play a bigger role in weight loss may continue, but for now, it looks like America might need to work harder on its diet in order to reverse the trends in obesity.
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.