A new study found that compared with two decades ago, fewer Americans are living a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle, as defined in the study was one of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, not smoking, keeping to a normal weight, moderately using alcohol, and exercising regularly. Adults aged 40 to 74 were studied from 1988-1994 and then 2001 to 2006.
The conclusions of the study were:
The proportion of people with a BMI higher than 30 went up from 28 to 36 per cent.
People doing exercise 12 times a month or more went down from 53 to 43 per cent.
Smoking rates have not changed much (26.9 down to 26.1 per cent).
People eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day went down from 42 to 26 per cent.
People drinking moderate amounts of alcohol went up from 40 to 51 per cent.
Overall the obesity rates have increased dramatically as well as the number of people diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease despite advances in medicine and technology. The researchers advise that regular exercise and a sensible diet can reduce the risk of early disability from a number of causes such as coronary heart disease, and also reduce the risk of obesity. In the U.S., the cost of medical care due to physical inactivity and its consequences are estimated at $76 billion.