Friday, November 21, 2008

What Happened to Us?

We've been having an interesting discussion over on my fitness blog, and I wanted to bring it over here to see if you all might be able to add some insight. I'm curious what you think.

I've been watching the Biggest Loser this season, (Boo Vicky! Boo Heba!)and on this last episode they did a tribute to the 1980's. Sticking with their theme, the challenge this week involved a trivia game comparing health facts from the 80's with present day.

It was interesting and depressing to learn how much our society has changed since 1980. Here were a few facts that stuck out to me:

- Obesity rates have nearly doubled
- Percentage of adults with diabetes has increased 300%
- The average size dress a women bought in 1985 was a size 8, today that average is a size 14
- Women today eat an average of 385 extra calories a day as compared to the 1980's.

I found this all so disturbing. I really want to know what has changed so I can reverse the trend for my kids.

On the fitness blog discussion, the idea of how fast our society moves came up; we rely on fast food, too, much. My mom mentioned that 1980 was about the time she got her first microwave. She thought it might be an interesting study to look at how that has changed our food. Maybe, but I think more than anything, the introduction of the microwave signaled the time when convenience became most important. We want food NOW, and we settle for fake food because it comes quicker.

I was also thinking about how our lives have shifted indoors, we're more sedentary, and more isolated leading to lack of movement and more depression. I don't know. I've heard people talk about this before, but nothing is changing. We are just moving forward, getting bigger, and more unhealthy.

What has happened to us? I'm curious about your thoughts:

-What do you think is to blame for these dramatic changes?
-What do you think parents need to do to help our kids stay healthy?

Oh and by the way....Back to Biggest Loser....Go Michelle!


Anonymous said...

Wow. That is some truly interesting data you have there. I wish I had some insightful opinion to offer. But I was a little toddler back in 1980 so I don't really recall much about life back then. :-)

Becky Avella said...

I was 4 in 1980 so I wasn't paying much attention either. : )

But the 80's in general are my lifetime and its sad to think about how things have changed during my lifetime.

On another Biggest Loser show I watched they said this is current generation of kids is the first generation of Americans to have a short expected lifespan than their parents.

Becky Avella said...

oops...that was supposed to say, "this current generation of kids is the first generation of Americans to have a shorter expected lifespan than their parents."

I should do some research and see if that's true.

Daiquiri said...

I remember a few things about the 80's like: candy was a rare treat, as was eating out. Playing outside was a daily thing. If the weather was bad, we went in the basement to jump rope, play dolls, or roller skate. If we were "sooo bored!" mom would put us to work cleaning. We had plenty to keep us busy, but not nearly the MASSIVE amounts of toys kids have these days. As a family, we'd take long drives to just take in the scenery (and sometimes a DQ ice cream cone). We'd sit together as a family each night (after a home-cooked meal and everyone helping with the dishes) to watch TV and talk and yes, have a bedtime snack. Life felt easy...slower...safer.

I can't help but think that everything is linked. Obesity, depression, our economic state, our spiritual state. It seems (in very broad and general terms) that our entire country wants or needs or is looking for something. Something to fill a void, heal a heart, occupy hands, numb a brain. We want things bigger and faster because maybe we'll fill that void if we just try harder and faster. Am I making sense?

And after a while of going bigger and faster for everything, we become numb to what we really need.

For example, I had an upset stomach a few days ago, so I basically fasted for the entire day. It wasn't really intentional...just didn't feel like eating. When I woke the next day and felt hungry - I felt truly hungry...not like I "might needed something to eat". And I was struck by how quickly I felt full, and how dramatic the feeling of being full was.

I feel like our entire nation needs a giant fast...from spending, from TV, from (gasp) internet, from food...from all the stuff that we keep consuming in massive and mindless proportions. I wonder what would happen if we all slowed down, got some sleep, spent some real time with eachother, and did some praying. I bet we'd get back to "normal" life with a different feeling in our belly, and a different hunger for *real* life.

Sorry to ramble...just my two cents :)

Becky Avella said...


That wasn't rambling! I think you are on to something.

I like how you said, "I can't help but think that everything is linked. Obesity, depression, our economic state, our spiritual state. It seems (in very broad and general terms) that our entire country wants or needs or is looking for something" I don't think the blame can be placed on something simple. People are stuffing food into a hole that can't be fed that way.

Reading about your memories from the 80's made me feel nostalgic. I want that kind of life for my kids.

I agree about our need for a fast. if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. We've lost touch and are sick. We need healing as a nation not just from obesity, but in many ways.

Hilty Sprouts said...

I have to agree with all of the above!
p.s., I gave you a little bloggy award over on my blog.