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American’s becoming more obese during economic slow down

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:10pm

San Diego once hailed “America’s Fittest City” by Mens Health magazine, 2001 through 2005 has plummeted to a dismal 21st place in categories of health, fitness and lifestyle. It is easy to predict this situation getting worse especially when America sits on the cusp of a economic recession. Robert Reich an expert economist and Professor at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and expert commentator on CNBC Kudlow and Company, believes we are already there. Most American’s would agree.

There are several tell tale signs that point to a economic recession, more specifically there are some apparent changes in health and fitness patterns of America’s as they attempt to anxiously ride out the gloom and doom that the media perpetually floods their heads with. With the shocking escalation in gasoline prices at the pump, and as light sweet crude oil prices fluctuate between $125 to $140 a barrel, Americans can only wait and see what the next day has in store. The cost of manufacturing and shipping of consumable goods to grocery stores and restaurants has spun out of control.I have read numerous stories about Mom and Pop Pizza shops having to raise the costs of pizza pies by 35% to break even on their costs. Just one of many examples that come to mind.

As a direct repercussion,it has become increasingly more difficult for lower and middle class Americans to eat healthy, never the less continue their fitness routines which for most has always been a discipline a problem. Add the higher price of gas, and how much they expend to and from the sports club or gym. Now exists another clever excuse to put a lifestyle of health and fitness on hold!

Here in Sunny San Diego, mass transit systems are few and underdeveloped, thus requiring most of it residents to travel considerable distances just to get to work. A 20 mile commute to work which is common, translates into $188 gasoline expense. factor in other misc. commutes and a $400 per month gas budget now exists. It is no mystery to residents of San Diego, CA that we pay the second highest prices at the pump only to first place Hawaii!

As a result, American’s are now in a state of panic. Many are facing economic turbulence as homeowners who have lost equity in their homes, some fear losing their jobs as lower profits and red ink are forcing many industry sectors to lay off employees and outsource to Bangladesh. Eating healthy and maintaining a health and fitness lifestyle really becomes a low priority.

In an economy where the average stock portfolio is down 15% one has to wonder why “Value Stocks” such as McDonald’s (MCD) Burger King (BKC) and Taco Bell (YUM) are posting minimal year to date losses at only -0.44% The answer is obvious if you pass by any of these three fast food eateries. American’s are resorting to consuming the very unhealthy, high cholesterol. sugar rich, artery clogging fast foods that from a socioeconomic point of view has always been the popular diet of those who live on lower incomes.

Conversely, high quality, Zagat rated restaurants are now suffering from a lack of customers. Fine dining on a healthier level, once a weekly social function, is now reserved primarily for special occasions. That extra $200 paid at the gas pump has now taken a bite out of peoples fine dining rituals. On a smaller scale America’s favorite
Coffee boutique Starbuck’s has suffered a 50% loss in revenues and has to close down 600 stores nation wide and lay of 12,000 employees! Go figure.

If you peruse the Sunday paper, you will see numerous restaurant coupon promotions for the gastronomically weak. “Free Appetizers up to $10 value” at Famous Daves Legenday Pit Barbeque” “$7 off your next visit with a minimum of $15 at Carino’s Italian Grill” “$5 off Family Feast $16.99 at Pat and Oscar’s. I could go on and on. As a fitness specialist and Physician Assistant, I couldn’t find this more disgustingly disturbing. I don’t know what the solutions are to rectify this growing problem, but I would speculate by 2010 America will need a army of fitness professional to help resolve this growing problem. From a health care perspective we can look forward to continual rate increases in health insurance premiums as unhealthy Americas begin to flood the health care systems.

The World Health Organization projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.At least 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally in 2005. Here in the United States it is projected that 60% of our population will have a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 25, in other words will be classified as medically obese.

The solution to this increasing problem is improved eating habits and increased activity, but as what costs?
People still need to eat and get to work, and don’t relish living on the financial edge. What the fitness industry can do is simply offer gym memberships at a reduced cost and integrate group fitness activities to encourage accountability and camraderie between members. Although my company offers one-on-one personal training,we cater primarily to the upper financial echelon of society who really is not impacted by this economic climate. But what about every body else? The 87% of the people who need serious help. Our contribution to the 87% is affordable group fitness at a nominal cost which everyone can afford. At Somagenesis Health and Fitness we have created a very affordable option. For more information about very affordable health and fitness alternatives, log in to our “award winning” web site at

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