Almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9), obese (BMI between 30 and 39.9), or extremely obese (BMI of 40 and above). An obese person spends $900 more a year in medical expenses than a person of normal weight. American adult caloric intake has risen from 1,854 to 2,002 calories per day over the past 20 years. This 148-calorie per day increase equals a weight gain of 15 pounds per year.
Cigarette smoking, followed by poor diet and physical inactivity, are the leading preventable causes of death in America.
Some 18 million Americans have diabetes and 41 million have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet at the level that qualifies for a diabetes diagnosis.
More than 60 percent of American adults do not get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day and 25 percent aren’t physically active at all. In a 2004 study, for every 30 minutes spent commuting, workers had a 3 percent chance of becoming obese compared with workers who spent less time driving.
Wealth statistics to defy
The average U.S. household carries about a $9,300 credit card balance. By one estimate, about 70 percent of Americans are living “paycheck to paycheck” and have no money left over after paying basic monthly expenses.
The number of household bankruptcy filings soared to about 1.6 million in 2004. About half of all bankruptcies in 2001 were triggered by illness or medical debts. Average American households are saving only about 1 percent of their disposable personal income. Only three in 10 U.S. households meet the recommended guideline of holding at least three months expenses in cash assets for emergencies.
The median net worth (assets minus debts) of all U.S. households in 2004 was $93,100. About 15 percent of U.S. workers experience financial distress that affects their workplace productivity. One-quarter of U.S. households are considered wealth-poor. They have net assets under $10,000 and are a layoff or emergency expenditure away from financial disaster.
This information is from a new resource booklet – Small Steps to Health and Wealth. These self-study workbooks are available free in limited supply at the Extension Service, 807 Old Elizabethtown Road, Hodgenville.