Healthy Lifestyle and Environment: Past Reflections

By James Prumos, Trending Writer

Over the years, we notice an increasing awareness for living healthy lifestyles and taking care of the environment. This may have happened because we are now beginning to realize the impact of unhealthy and eco-dangerous lifestyles.

According to Campaign to End Obesity, no state had an obesity rate greater than 15 percent in 1980, but in 2013, 41 states had rates over 25 percent. These obesity rates may have increased due to an increase in sedentary lifestyles among Americans. Americans now have a greater access to television, the Internet, and other electronic media, so there is now a greater incentive to stay inside as opposed to taking part in an outdoor activity such as playing sports or going to the park. WebMD supports this, stating that Americans in 2008 spent 25% less time in nature than Americans in 1987.

Increased awareness of food health is also going against the stereotype of American food being filled to the brim with fat and sugar. Arguably the flag-bearer of this stereotype is fast-food chain McDonald’s, with unhealthy menu choices being the subject of Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 film, Super Size Me. Forbes wrote in 2011 how McDonald’s had been increasing their healthy food options, as well as stating the number of calories for everything on their menu.

The concept of the planet’s health being in danger is far more controversial than that of American lifestyles. Ever since the Industrial Revolution over a century ago, large consumption of fossil fuels such as coal, and later petroleum and natural gas, became a part of society. Now, the effects of that consumption can be apparent in our changing climate. While some have been spreading awareness for global warming, trying to promote decreased usage in fossil fuels and less emission of greenhouse gases, others argue that there is no evidence for climate change. One must also consider how changes in fuel consumption can impact some American livelihoods. If more effort is made to cut back on coal emissions, for example, workers in the coal mining industry can lose their jobs and may not have the proper qualifications to find a better one. In addition, the conflict over the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline is a prime example of big companies showing a lack of concern for potential disasters that could greatly impact both the environment and human lives. With that said, awareness for how humans can impact the environment has increased.

Americans generally have become more aware of different aspects of their lifestyles. More effort is being taken to live more healthily, and there is now more concern over what impact humans may have on the environment, even if there are those who object to those concerns.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th print edition.

Contact James at

james.prumos@student.shu.edu

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