Earlier this month, Mexico topped the charts and surpassed the United States as the world’s fattest nation. But let’s not celebrate. It doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. is getting healthier. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the U.S. adult obesity rate is on track to exceed last year’s rate. With these looming obesity problems, we wanted to look at why people don’t eat healthier. But first, let’s look at the eating and exercise habits of U.S. adults based on our data from the past few months.
How many people consider themselves to be overweight? This question is based on the person’s self-perception:
Over the past three months, 55% of U.S. adults believe they are overweight.
Now let’s take a look at how many people are trying to lose weight:
A total of 80% of U.S Adults are actively trying to lose weight. Almost half of adults (46%) of people would like to lose 16 or more pounds.
Yet, only 60% of the population regularly exercises:
66% of people who say they almost never / never exercise, also consider themselves overweight. So how are people expecting to lose weight without exercising? Maybe they figure eating healthier will do the trick, which brings us to our next point: Fast Food. According to a recent article by the Huffington Post, McDonald’s was ranked the number one most-visited business in April, with more than half of U.S. consumers visiting the chain. More people visited McDonald’s than Walmart. So much for eating healthy.
We also looked at how often people eat fast food:
59% of the U.S. adult population eats fast food AT LEAST a few times a month. Not exercising and eating fast food doesn’t seem like a great combo. On top of that, almost 1/3 of people who say they eat fast food once a week or more have school-aged children living with them, which means the children are most likely getting into the habit of eating fatty, processed foods. 49% of those who eat fast food once a week or more say they never exercise.
Let’s take a look at the regular fast food eater vs. the person who doesn’t eat fast food:
What is it about Americans and why do we seem to pick the unhealthy choices? Is it our workaholic mentality that leaves us with minimal time and energy to make time to exercise and cook meals? Is it the perfect-looking fast food choices that are constantly advertised on TV and on billboards we pass every day? Or is it that most of us don’t really know what “healthy” is?
CivicScience asked 1,000 people the following question to find the biggest reason people don’t eat healthier:
The largest reason people don’t eat healthy is because they say it is too expensive, followed by people not having enough time. The good news is, not many people avoid eating healthy because they don’t want to give up their favorite foods, which means people would be open to eating healthier. 41% of people think they do eat healthy. We found that 66% of those who answered “I think I do eat healthy” only eat fast food once a month or less, 59% of them exercise several times a week, and 62% of them do not consider themselves overweight.
So think twice before ordering that Big Mac and opt for a salad instead. Spend less time on social networks or watching sports to go for a walk. And change the channel when that commercial with the delicious burger and fries comes on. Let’s leave Mexico the wonderful title of ‘The World’s Fattest Nation’.