How Much Do You Weigh Now… Compared To Then? The Ugly Tale Of The Tape

By Dr. Dave Hnida

DENVER (CBS4) -When I think back to the days of working in the emergency department 20 or so years ago, I remember seeing an occasional number of folks on diabetes medications. These days though, it’s an entirely different story. One day recently, I calculated that about seven out of 10 people were on medication to control blood sugar. And pretty much all of them were markedly overweight. Now that’s a lot of diabetes. And a lot of pounds.

Now this certainly isn’t a scientific study—it’s just a casual observation. But the fact is, more and more Americans are tipping the scales in an ugly direction, and that’s not so good for health.

Just this past week, the CDC came out with some new statistics that seem to back up my unscientific observations: as a nation, we are not growing taller, but we are growing wider.

Here’s the breakdown.

In the years 1988-1994, the average weight of an American male was 181 pounds.

In the years 2011-2014, that number ballooned 15 pounds up to an average of 196 pounds. That’s a lot of wider pants and longer belts.

During those same time frames, the average height remained stranded at 5-foot-9.

How about women?

Twenty years ago, the average weight was 152.

Twenty years later, the average weight hit 169 pounds

And the average height? Static at 5-foot-4.

Here’s the deal. We are not suddenly bulking up like the Hulk with muscle mass. Instead, the trend has an easy spelling: O-B-E-S-I-T-Y. We are simply busting out of our clothes with fat—and mainly abdominal fat, the most dangerous kind.

So what we get is more diabetes, more high blood pressure, more heart disease, and more creaking, arthritic joints.

The reason for the tightening clothes is a simple math equation: More food + less exercise = excess body weight.

So what can you do?

No one size strategy fits all, but it does mean:

Planning your meals for the week

Eating out less

Keeping the junky food out of the house (meaning shop smarter!)

Sticking a dollar or in a jar for each time you didn’t stop at the vending machine

Identify the one time of day when you do eat more (and most of us have that one vulnerable time), find it and be ready for it

Limit TV time (especially reality shows, where you are allowed to care about everyone else but yourself)

Weigh yourself every day

Get a calendar, write down that weight

And then, write down the three days this week and next that you will get out and take a walk, garden, or be active.

Then be patient with the fact that you’ll lose about 1-2 lbs. a week. Anything more is a bonus. Remember, there are no magic pills, no magic potions, and no magic lose 40 pounds in 40 day plans.

You can do it. You can do anything. But you have to start today. I know it’s hard .

BUT. Your loved ones will thank you. Especially your kids.

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida

 

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