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Lack of exercise is also a major culprit in the obesity epidemic.It's been decades since most Americans worked in fields and on factory floors, a far greater majority of us are sitting throughout our workday. According to one study, only 20% of today's jobs require at least moderate physical activity, as opposed to 50% of jobs in 1960.
Too much food, too little exercise, and genetics top the list of reasons as to why the United States of America is the unhealthiest country compared to the rest of the world.
Regardless of the exact cause of this phenomenon, obesity in the United States has become an epidemic.
One one hand, larger portions, processed packaged food, and drive-thru meals are branded as almost classically American — fast, cheap, filling and delicious.
On the other hand, we spend over $20 billion annually on weight loss schemes, from diet books and pills all the way up to last-resort surgeries like lap-bands and liposuction.
These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.
To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5'9" tall.
To understand the true size of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight.
Generally, doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
This schizophrenic relationship with food is easy to explain in terms of marketing schemes. Since the 1970s, popular nutrition wisdom and fad diets have flamed in and out just as quickly as the Arch Deluxe or the Mc Rib. Low-fat and fat-free products flew off supermarket shelves.
As decades of soda and tv dinners caught up with our waistlines, the U. It took us decades to learn that when something is fat-free and full-flavored, it's probably too good to be true.