Fit vs. Fat: Does a Country’s Athletic Prowess Represent its Overall Health? Part 1
In the coming three-part series we’ll take a look at a few rival countries to see how their medal counts stack up against the livelihood of their countrymen.
No amount of gold, silver or bronze medals can improve the health of a nation. Your health directly reflects the lifestyle choices you make, while your genes have been proven to lack the influence we once assumed they had. Let’s see if a couple countries that dominate their international competition have the fit citizenry to match their medal counts.
The United States and China
The U.S. and China butt heads socioeconomically as well as in the realm of sport. But the U.S. carries an international reputation of obesity, while the Chinese have come under fire for alleged human rights violations.
So who’s in better shape?
The Chinese government may be accused of mistreating some of its people, but Americans don’t take care of themselves.
In a recent survey of 24 developed countries, the U.S. was named “Laziest Country in the World.”3
The survey measured total calories consumed each day, the amount of TV watched each day, the number of people who play sports in their free time and, on average, the length of time a person uses the internet every day. 4
As far as calorie intake, Americans take the cake. We also watch the most TV and rank third-worst in hours spent online. Out of 24 countries surveyed, only two—Turkey and Great Britain—manage to play sports less often than we do.
To recap, we lead the developed world in eating and channel-surfing, we are addicted to the internet, and avoid physical activity at nearly all costs.
According to TheDailyBeast.com, “gluttony is as American as apple pie.”
To make things worse, the average American tips the scales at 180.62 lbs.5 That’s men and women combined. The international average is 136.68 lbs. We live in the third heaviest country on Earth, and, “[d]espite only making up 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for almost a third of the world’s weight due to obesity.”6
The Chinese, on the other hand, weigh in below the international average at 133.50 lbs. While the people of China don’t carry as much weight as American citizens, their life expectancy is about four years shorter than ours. They average a greater number of deaths in children younger than five, as well as for people between 15 and 60 years old.[1. http://www.who.int/countries/usa/en/] [2. http://www.who.int/countries/chn/en/]
That being said, many of China’s health issues have been attributed to human rights struggles, rather than self-neglect. Simply, the Chinese do not resign themselves to a poor lifestyle as frequently as Americans.
The U.S. and China may be neck-and-neck for the medal count, but we’re lagging far behind in the most basic form of self-preservation. We poison our bodies and expand our waistlines by consistently choosing convenience over nutrition and quick-fixes over real-world solutions.
The American people are losing this hypothetical battle for themselves.
In the next installment, we’ll see how host-country Great Britain stacks up against the French.
Don’t fall into the international American stereotype. Choose the happy, healthy life you deserve. If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t hesitate to contact your local Maximized Living doctor to learn the steps to true, lasting wellness.
7. http://calstate.fullerton.edu/news/inside/2007/Ling.html (Used only as background)
8. http://www.forbes.com/2008/04/07/health-world-countries-forbeslife-cx_avd_0408health.html (Used only as background)