Every year, a majority of Americans make their New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and go to the gym. In reality, we know our resolutions last about a month until life gets a little bit stressful and someone puts a piece of chocolate cake in front of your face at dinner.
Health reporter Julie Beck only proved my thesis in her Atlantic article. She writes, “Just 2.7 percent of people met all four” qualifications for a healthy lifestyle as defined by the clinical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. New studies have shown how horribly unhealthy our country is. Statistics have proven that more than half of Americans eat mostly “ultra-processed” foods, and the average American man has a body mass index that is just under the medical definition of obese. After New Year’s, there’s a lot of hype over being healthy and starting fresh, but only 3 percent are actually following through with their decision.
According to Beck, the first qualification for a Mayo Clinic-supported healthy lifestyle is doing “moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.” The second requires “a diet score in the top 40 percent according to the Healthy Eating Index.” The third qualification is that a body fat percentage for men must be under 20 percent, and under 30 percent for women. Lastly, individuals should not smoke.
While these qualifications don’t seem that demanding, some Americans don’t meet at least one of them. More often than not, I walk down the street at school and see groups of two or three students smoking. In the dining hall, I frequently see three plates full of pizza, French fries, a cheeseburger and dessert. Our world today has made it too easy to make unhealthy decisions.
Individuals of all ages have access to unhealthy, ultra-processed foods. On a daily basis, the Boston University dining hall offers at least four different pizza options, sodas, a plethora of desserts and cheeseburgers with fries from the grill. It’s sad to me that in a country where we know there is a huge issue with obesity, our school is giving students access to an all-you-can-eat buffet at every meal with multiple options of unhealthy foods.
In my opinion, living a healthy lifestyle begins with making healthy food choices and understanding portion control. The last thing hardworking students need is to be feeding themselves fatty, greasy foods at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Additionally, our obsession with social media and being plugged in has made people lazy. It has become too easy to lay in bed distracted by Instagram and Netflix rather than spending a productive hour at the gym. It sounds so easy, but it has become far more appealing to sit on Twitter instead of paying attention to our bodies.
It’s about time that we start teaching each other and spreading the word. We need to encourage our fellow Americans to get out of McDonald’s, get off their phones and spend some time treating our bodies well.
Obesity has become a huge issue, and the only way to fix this issue is to inform one another and encourage everyone that making a change is important. I don’t think that this country as a whole has focused enough on health, but programs should be implemented at the most elementary level so that kids are taught how to make healthy choices and grow up knowing that health must be a huge priority.