By Ken Reed

Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve survived another Memorial Day weekend.

Along with good times with friends and family, you probably sat around a lot and “pigged out” at a BBQ or two. And a lot of what you ate can be easily classified as “junk food.”

I know I’m guilty of not eating solely health food store items this past weekend.

In the United States, there are a lot of us in the same boat.

Basically, as Karin Klein wrote this weekend, “We eat too much highly processed fast and convenience food, and we don’t get enough exercise.”

A recent study found that Americans are sitting more than ever. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), revealed that sitting time rose significantly between 2007 and 2016. Adult sitting time jumped from 5.5 hours a day to about 6.5 hours a day. Adolescents faired even worse, jumping from 7 hours a day to a little more than 8 hours a day. The jumps weren’t due to increases in work or school demands. In the US of A, leisure time is increasingly spent in front of screens of some type (TV, video games, social media, surfing the Internet, etc.) The impact of this high level of physical inactivity has resulted in a new medical term, “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SDS).”

In the United States we spend more on health care than comparable industrial nations across the globe. However, we rank last among that group in overall health.

And, it’s not just that we aren’t very healthy physically. We aren’t very health emotionally either. In last year’s rankings of the happiest nations, the United States dropped four spots to 18th. We’ve never made the top 10.

The blues you might be feeling today could be due to more than a simple hangover effect from coming off a three-day weekend. It could be due to a lack of exercise and a diet high in junk food.

Americans beware. Other than cigarette smoking, which is down, health trends in the United States aren’t going in a positive direction.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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