The world is getting bigger, and not in a good way. A recent article published in Lancet claims that “20% of adults worldwide will be obese by 2025.” Many of us are aware that obesity is a serious problem in the United States. In fact over a third of our population is classified as obese (BMI>30). But, the news that global obesity rates are rising means the problem is no longer uniquely our own.
What does that mean exactly? First, let’s look at the findings from the Lancet report. The report pulled numbers from research out of Imperial College London, which showed that worldwide obesity rates increased from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014. The numbers also reflect male obesity rates tripling during that time frame and women’s obesity rates doubling. At this rapid speed of obesity growth, we’re facing a serious increase in obesity-related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention the high medical costs that go along with those diseases.
Is it all doom and gloom? No, of course not. These numbers teach us that we can do more, that we can be part of the solution. Instead of focusing on the negative, we need to put our energy into what we can control to fight obesity – moving more and eating smarter.
That’s right, we’ve got to get moving. Work and school can turn us into stationary, chair-sitters and electronic devices prevent us from turning to sports, outdoor adventures and other fun activities that can raise our heart rate. In a world where we’ve become accustomed to modern convenience, it’s our responsibility to be vigilant about fitting in exercise – finding ways to move more.
How can you move more?
- If you have to drive, don’t choose the spot closest to your destination, park a little further away so you’ll have to take more steps.
- Get out of the habit of taking elevators and escalators and opt for the stairs.
- Instead of sitting at your desk during breaks, get up and go for a brisk walk.
- Pull out your calendar and mark off days and times that you want to exercise. When you schedule it, you’re more likely to do it.
- Find an exercise class, a gym or even a sports-oriented group that can help keep you motivated and can hold you accountable.
- Make walking dates to catch up with friends or invite a colleague to go for a meeting over a walk.
- Set a timer to ensure you get up from your desk once an hour—even if it’s just to take a quick stretch.
- Find activities you enjoy so you’re motivated to be active—hiking, gardening, kayaking, dancing, yoga, tennis, and swimming are some to consider.
Oftentimes we don’t think of food as fuel. Instead, it’s simply a means to fill our hungry bellies, a thing we use to pacify our boredom or a crutch for when life gets hectic or stressful. It’s time we honor the food we consume and realize that every bite counts. By fueling your body with well-balanced, nutritious foods, it will reward you by performing at it’s best. This means you need a variety of all foods, including vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, good-for-you fats and dairy.
How can you eat smarter?
- Choose foods with less added sugar. Why? Because on average, we’re getting between 14-18% of our calories from added sugars, which is well above the recommended 10% of calories set by the Dietary Guidelines. Don’t worry, the FDA just made that easier for you! They’ve mandated that labels must include amounts of added sugar on labels by July 2018.
- Cook at home when you can. When you cook at home, you can make smarter choices when it comes to what you’re cooking and how you’re cooking it. It’s also a great way to spend time with family and friends.
- Buy pre-packaged meals you can trust. Luvo is a great choice, because we produce wholesome, nutritious meals that taste amazing. So even when you can’t cook, you know you’ve got an amazingly nourishing option right there in your freezer.
- Choose more vegetables and fruits! Vegetables and fruits contain a dizzying array of nutrients, all of which promote good health. Since we’re falling short when it comes to consuming them, we’re missing out on all of that great nutrition. Add them to any meal for an easy way to boost nutrition without excess calories.
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