WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A recent study shows that more than half of 18-25 year old’s are overweight.
“We have seen a significant increase in [body mass index], in overweight status and obesity over the last few decades,” Dr. Tori Asbury, a family physician from Novant Health said. “The concern with this increase that we’re seeing is really related to the adverse health consequences that were going to see as time goes on. The increase in BMI in those affected by obesity — [they] have an increased risk of metabolic diseases as they progress into adulthood.”
Dr. Asbury explained the importance of working on preventative measures and making small lifestyle changes to live a healthier life.
“Prevention is always kind of key. Making healthy food choices, avoiding processed foods — we see a lot of increase with high calorie drinks and alcohol consumption — that can really add to the increase we’re seeing,” Dr. Asbury said. “I think one thing that we could certainly think about is activity level. As a culture, we have our phones or tablets and have on demand access to everything. So, our general activity levels are really low, so getting out and being more active on a daily basis as well as intentionally scheduling exercise can make a big improvement. It is a good starting point for a lot of people.”
Health officials recommend 5,000 to 10,000 steps per day. In addition, an average of 150 minutes to 300 minutes of scheduled moderate-to-intense level exercise is recommended each week, or 75 to 100 minutes if it’s a more vigorous exercise.
When talking about the pandemic Dr. Asbury noted that those statistics likely aren’t reflected in these numbers yet, but there will certainly be an uptick in overweight individuals once that data is included.
“We’re looking at a cultural shift now where people are doing school online, people are working from home, so this is really decreasing a lot of the activity that we’ve seen before,” Dr. Asbury said. “We know that stress can contribute to weight gain.”
Dr. Asbury also emphasized the importance of taking care of your overall health when looking towards the future.
“I think just focusing on prevention of becoming overweight or having elevated BMI at a younger age is very important. One thing that we need to remember is that we can affect our future children by the choices that we have now and we can affect our future outcome. So, I think that’s an important take home message for the young adult population,” Dr. Asbury said.
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