The Irony of America

Olympic athletes are getting faster, and the rest of the world is getting fatter.  It is not rare that you see records broken every time another Olympics rolls around, and many times, those records are broken by Americans.  As I write this, the United States is tied for the top spot of total medals earned.  Watching the Olympics is always a reminder of how amazing the human body is and what it is capable of doing.  These are the most physically fit people in the world, and it is a beautiful thing to watch the body perform such feats.

However, the rest of us in America sit at home and watch them on TV, with only 31% of us being at a healthy weight, according to the CDC.  The USA leads the world in athleticism and yet is the most obese developed country across the globe (Check out this article about the 10 fattest countries in the developed world).  What is wrong with this picture??

Here is my synopsis:  we are people of extremes and struggle with finding a balance.  There are the extreme athletes that train and compete for a living, and then there those who give up and don’t even try to live healthy.  Most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but often go in and out of healthy patterns and struggle to live healthfully on a day to day basis.  There are too many choices that we have to make, and many of us end up choosing the less healthy one.

Most of us won’t ever be an Olympian or even ever know an Olympian.  We may not ever stand on the Olympic podium, but it is a noble goal to strive to be part of the 31% of our country that is in the healthy weight range.  Keep making those healthy choices–you won’t receive a gold for it, but receiving the gift of health is definitely worth it.

*Just a note about these statistics, which are based on Body Mass Index (BMI):  often times, elite athletes are overweight or obese on the BMI scale because of the amount of muscle they have.  Since BMI calculates weight and height and since muscle weighs more than fat, BMI charts do not work favorably towards elite athletes.  However, it is what the CDC uses, and it pretty accurate for the normal part of the population.

One comment

  1. · August 3, 2012

    That is very sad. I think when people watch the Olympics, they get inspired to get in shape. I am not fat at all, but I haven't been doing ballet at home as often as I had and I really missed doing triple jump when seeing the commercial where a guy does it haha. Anyway, I also miss swimming because in middle school I did it a few times a week for 2 hours each time without stopping (swimming laps and laps mainly just breast stroke and freestyle, once in a while side and back stroke. . .never butterfly more than half a lap haha). I also rollerbladed constantly as a teenager and need to do that. Considering how active I used to be, I feel so lazy and flabby now even though I don't look it too much, ugh. I totally see how USA is the most obese country like that link says. I didn't know Chile was going to be on that list. The other countries make sense to me to be on there.


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