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Technology: Helping or hurting obesity rates

Move it

My intent with this blog is not to criticize anyone, but instead to share some personal observations and tie in some research to make a point. The Centers for Disease Controls says 93.3 million Americans are obese. That’s nearly 40 percent of this country.

So what’s to blame? Poor diet and a lack of exercise are the obvious culprits. And in some cases, technology is making these factors worse. I’ve read before that a sedentary lifestyle is the new form of smoking. No moving is killing us and our kids are at an even greater risk. Here’s my take…

I see a lot of kids of ages, my own included, glued to their phones. I’m guilty of this too. The use of technology isn’t all bad. But it is leading people to do less exercise. However, I will say that with the birth of FitBits and fitness apps, I’ve seen more adults doing more walking. I often try to beat my previous day’s step number and use my phone to track my progress.

Stranger Things bike ride, Courtesy: Netflix

Another trend I’ve noticed is the emergence of motorized bikes and golf carts. I’m a child of the 70s and 80s. We rode bikes for miles around the neighborhood and beyond every day of the summer. When we weren’t riding bikes, we were swimming, hopping from pool to pool on our street. This activity started after breakfast and didn’t end until after dinner as we’d go back outside and play until it was too dark keep going.

Now I see kids zipping by on motorized devices. Yes, it looks cool. But it makes me miss those days gone by when we played and biked and walked all over the place. Apps for fast food joints making ordering much easier and cheaper than picking a healthier option. I don’t want to sound like Grampa Simpson yelling at clouds but someone needs to talk about this issue. Other reports indicate children today may have their lives cut shorter than their parents due to rising obesity rates.

I’m not saying get rid of phones, scooters or golf carts. Instead, let’s add some extra activity to our lives and skip the fast food line a couple times a month. Park further away from the entrance at work, school or the store. Take the stairs more often. And lead by example. Invite your kids outside to play. Toss a ball around, hop on the trampoline or just engage in a game of tag. You never know, it could add years to your life and the lives of those you love.

It’s not just us as consumers. This country needs better access to healthier, more affordable options. A burger and fries are half the cost of a salad. Something has to change. We’re all in trouble if it doesn’t.


kevinhunsblogger View All

I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.

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