The report from the CDC is in: 40% of adults in the United States were obese in 2015-2016.
The average American woman now weighs 169 pounds–17 pounds heavier than in 1994– while the average American man weighs 196 pounds–15 pounds heavier than in 1994.
Vox published a thoughtful article on the reasons for the drastic increase. Unsurprisingly, they all had to do with food. Here’s my take on the top three:
1) We eat out too much
When I asked Fredonia seniors Rachel Williams and Brittany Feldman about healthy eating in my interview with them last week, here’s how they responded:
“Feldman: There’s food on campus that is healthy if you look. A lot people say, ‘Oh, there’s only breadsticks and mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers,’ but that’s not true. There’s always sandwiches, and you can always make a healthy stir-fry. There’s sushi, there’s so much stuff you can find that’s healthy. And off-campus . . .
Williams: Cook your own food.
Feldman: You need to cook your own food. I try not to eat anything that’s in a bag, if that makes sense. I don’t like to eat a lot of processed stuff in bags or cans.”
When the journalist Michael Pollan was asked for the simplest way to reform our food system, he responded similarly: “Cook. Simply by starting to cook again, you declare your independence from the culture of fast food. As soon as you cook, you start thinking about ingredients, you start thinking about plants and animals, and not the microwave, and you will find that your diet, just by that one simple act, is greatly improved.”
2) Portion sizes have gone up
Restaurant portion sizes are four times as big as they were in 1950. See #1 above.
3) Sugary drinks
There’s no reason for the average person to be drinking something with sugar in it. Sodas, fruit juices, chocolate milk, beer, and energy and sports drinks are now consumed with alarming frequency.
I wrote a blog post about sugar addiction two months ago.
I also interviewed Fredonia hockey player Sam Wilbur last month about his dramatic fat loss, which he did primarily by restricting sugar.