Our March bulletin covers three new studies, conducted separately, but which collectively speak to troubling trends in wellness while pointing toward potential solutions.
First, we’ll learn about a new report from the CDC that compares Americans’ average size and weight today to their measurements 18 years ago.
The second study we’ll examine reveals a trend that Savers should be sure to avoid.
Finally, we’ll look at a groundbreaking study that compared the impact of regular exercise and a specific diet both separately and in combination. Read on to find out which of the two caused the participants to experience remarkable health benefits.
The Average American Approaches Obesity
A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that many Americans are heavier now than they were at the start of the 21st century. More than ever, the average American is very close to the threshold of obesity.1
“The average American man is 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighs 198 pounds; an average woman is 5-feet, 4-inches and 171 pounds, based on CDC data. That compares with 189.1 pounds and 163.6, respectively, at the start of the century.
In the CDC report, American men — on average — gained nine pounds while maintaining roughly the same height, expanding waistlines by an inch and a half to 40 inches since the start of the century. The risk for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.
American women are even closer to being obese on average. Over the last 18 years, the average woman has gained 2.4 inches around the waist and their BMI has increased to 29.6.
Over the last 18 years, the mean weight, waist circumference and body mass index in adults has increased for all age groups, for non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American men and women and for non-Hispanic black women.”1
Obesity increases the risk of many illnesses and conditions, so this trend is troubling in that it signals that the general population’s weight and size is increasing. That may indicate deteriorating dietary habits, decreasing physical activity– or worse, both. Those practices are essential for general well-being, including maintaining a healthy weight and strong bones.
The average American is getting heavier and larger, nearing the threshold for obesity.
Study Finds Americans Sit Too Much
A new study has found that nearly half of Americans sit for too long every day, and do little to no exercise.2
Sitting for more than 8 hours each day has been correlated with an increased risk of early death, and other studies have linked prolonged sedentary time to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.3,4
“A survey of some 5,900 adults found that nearly 26 percent sit for more than eight hours a day, 45 percent don't get any moderate or vigorous exercise during the week, and about 11 percent sit more than eight hours a day and are physically inactive.
“Being sedentary increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and dying early,” said lead author Emily Ussery. She is an epidemiologist at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new edition of the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans says that any amount of physical activity — even two minutes' worth — can add up to huge health benefits.
When the new guidelines were released recently, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said, “Physical activity is about finding opportunities to add movement throughout the day as part of a bigger commitment to healthy living.”
Being inactive causes 10 percent of early deaths in the United States, according to Giroir. If 25 percent of inactive people got at least the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, nearly 75,000 premature deaths could be prevented.2
As Savers know, regular physical exercise also stimulates the growth of new bone and increases the quality and strength of the bone matrix. Even small amounts of physical activity can be helpful, so if you’re currently not exercising, start with short sessions spread out across several days.
A new study shows many Americans sit more than eight hours a day, and get little to no physical exercise.
Study Finds That 6 Months Of Healthier Choices Improves Cognitive Function
A recently published study found that you can improve cognitive function and decrease your brain’s functional age in as little as six months by getting regular exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet.5 The study, published in the journal Neurology, looked at the effects of an improved diet and regular exercise both separately and in combination.
The diet was a heart-healthy program that cut salt, fatty foods, and sugar while emphasizing vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The exercise program consisted of 10 minutes of warm-up followed by 35 minutes of continuous walking or stationary cycling, performed three times a week.
“Many experts “are already convinced about the benefits of lifestyle interventions to reduce risk of Alzheimer's and cardiovascular dementia,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, who directs the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine. “But for those who are not, this study is a randomized, clinical trial that illustrates the benefits.
“You can do something today for a better brain tomorrow,” said Isaacson, who was not involved in the research.
The study was a first, said Blumenthal, who has long studied the effects of diet and exercise on depression and overall cardiac health.
“I don't think there is another study that looked at the separate and combined effects of exercise and diet in slowing cognitive decline in patients who are vulnerable to develop dementia in later life,” he said.
The study enrolled 160 adults who had high blood pressure or other risks for cardiovascular disease, who never exercised and who had verified cognitive concerns such as difficulty making decisions, remembering or concentrating. Participants were an average age of 65, two-thirds female and equally divided between whites and minorities. Anyone diagnosed with dementia or unable to exercise was excluded.”5
The participants were divided into four groups: a diet group, an exercise group, a diet and exercise group, and a control group that didn’t change anything about their lifestyle. After six months, the diet-only group experienced small improvements that were not statistically significant. The exercise group had a significant improvement in their executive functioning skills. The control group’s executive functioning age-level increased by 6-months, as expected with no interventions.
The group that saw the most improvement was the combined diet and exercise group. Their executive function improved by nine years. That means their neurological age decreased over the six months of the study, and by the end, they were functioning at a level nine-years younger than their starting level.
This study proves that it’s never too lateto make a difference in your health and that the difference you can make is enormous. It also shows how responsive our bodies and minds are to diet and exercise.
Study finds that combining a heart-healthy diet with thrice-weekly non-strenuous exercise improved executive functioning in older adults in just six months.
Exercise Is Essential For Bone Health
A routine of regular walking is a powerful tool for maintaining bone health. The benefit of improved neurological function makes a case for taking regular walks even stronger.
Walking or other weight-bearing exercises like jogging or at-home exercises, can make a big difference in your bone health and overall health, including your cognitive function.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
1 Alexandre Tanzi. “The Average American Is Edging Closer to Being Borderline Obese.” Bloomberg Quint. December 20, 2018. Web. https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/tale-of-the-tape-average-american-is-borderline-obese-cdc-says
2 Steven Reinberg. “Most Americans spend too much time sitting, study finds.” CBS News. Healthday. November 21, 2018. Web. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-americans-spend-too-much-time-sitting-and-not-exercising-at-all-study-finds/
3 Van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Korda RJ, Banks E, Bauman A. Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222 497 Australian Adults. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):494–500. Web: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1108810
4 Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123–132. Web: https://annals.org/aim/article/2091327/sedentary-time-its-association-risk-disease-incidence-mortality-hospitalization-adults
5 Sandee LaMotte. “Just 6 months of walking may reverse cognitive decline, study says.” CNN. Live Longer. December 20, 2018. Web. https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/19/health/reverse-cognitive-aging-exercise-diet-study/index.html