With such a low bar for fitness, why are so many Americans out of shape?

There is a growing concern that more and more Americans are becoming overweight. The US Department of Defense is feeling the impact as 71% of Americans ages 18 and 25 cannot qualify for military service.

Want to know why fitness is not essential in America?

Note-This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect my views . Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Did you know that about 71% of Americans between 17 and 21 years are ineligible for military service? 24 million of the 34 million youths in this age bracket cannot join the armed forces. 

The worrying part is the biggest culprit keeping the youth out of the military service is the fitness culture in America. About 57% of the 24 million people suffer from health problems, mostly obesity. 

The problem is not only with the youth. According to recent reports, only 12% of adult Americans are metabolically healthy. That means only 27 million adult Americans are healthy.

This number should serve as a wake up call.  

Again, obesity is the single-most reason why fitness in America is a concern. A lot people are adopting poor eating habits and are not exercising enough to burn the extra calories.

How Often Do Americans Exercise?

If you visit any state or city in America, you will hear people talking about the need to exercise. Statistics reveal only 28% of Americans consider fitness a priority. 

But, almost an equal number (25%) do not consider exercising as a priority, while the majority (44%) will only prioritize it when they can.

Why would Americans think they’re as active as the European when in actual sense they’re not, nor do a good number prioritize physical activities?

According to the scientists who tracked Americans, Dutch, and English, the problem is Americans’ perception of the physical activities. 

Americans are likely to rate themselves as either very active or very inactive, while Europeans are likely to rate themselves as moderate.

But, the wearable fitness-tracking device revealed that Americans were less physically active compared to the Europeans.  

To make fitness culture a growing trend in America, the US Department of Health advises at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.

If you are in the category of people with a tight schedule, you should set aside 75 minutes every week for vigorous physical activity. Are Americans following this recommendation?

Less than 10% of American exercise daily and about 25% exercises 3-4 times a week, meaning that most Americans are missing the Department’s target.

Fitness by Age Bracket

While older people think they’re as physically active as the younger generation, research reveals otherwise. 5% of Americans ages between 46 and 65 are exercising daily compared to 6% between 26 to 45 years..

A fitness-tracking device revealed people in America and Europe become less active as they grow older. But, this inactivity is more widespread in America’s older people than the Europeans.

Popular Forms of Fitness Activities in America

In America, physical fitness activities vary from person to person and from age to age. Some people consider their jobs as a form of exercise, while others consider walking their pets as physical activity. 

Walking is the most popular routine activity among those who exercise.

This is popular among people of all ages, with 58% of the youths (18-25 years) walking for exercise daily. The percentage increases among the older people-65% for 26-45-year-old and 77% for 45-65-year-old.

Of the Americans who exercise, 40% engage in weight training. The majority either go to a gym or lift weight at home. However, most of those involved in weight training are young people between 26 to 45 years old. 

Other popular forms of exercise in the US are cardio machines, running, yoga, biking, and hiking. Yoga is the most popular group exercise across all ages, with 25% of Americans engaged in some sort of yoga. 

Top Reasons for Exercising

People head to the gym, walk, run, or do yoga for many  reasons. While the main reason for engaging in exercise is to improve your health, the top reasons are.

  • To look good or better physically (This reason is common among 18-25-year-olds)
  • Shed off extra weight
  • Live a long and healthy life (common among 46-65-year-olds)
Final Thoughts

There is a growing health concern among the 18-65 age bracket. A lot of people in this age bracket have poor eating habits, which has resulted in health problems such as obesity.

However, most of these people are not keen on physical exercise and this needs to change. 

It is a personal responsibility of every American to keep fit and healthy if they want a better quality of life.     

Author’s bio:

Rachel Burns has been writing on topics related to fitness and healthy eating for 2 years now. As a mother, she really appreciates the ease of raising children with her advice.

Rachel specializes in plant-based diets. In addition to nutrition, she is also an exercise enthusiast

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