Lesson 1 of 7 - free your true Self to guide you

Most Americans don't eat
smart and exercise: CDC

Unhealthy self-neglect is epidemic

By Will Dunham
Reuters, via Yahoo News - 4-5-2007


The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/gwc/news/self_neglect.htm.

  Updated  April 11, 2015

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        This research summary provides sobering evidence of how widespread personal self-neglect is in America. This may be a reliable indicator of how common low self esteem (shame) is in our society. See my comments after this summary. The hilights and links below are mine. - Peter Gerlach, MSW

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Only one in seven Americans exercises enough and eats enough fruits and vegetables, and men are worse than women, federal health officials said on Thursday.

"These results underscore the need to promote diets high in fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity among all populations in the United States and among racial and ethnic minority communities in particular," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in a report.

The CDC tracked the percentage of Americans who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and engage in moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week or vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes three days per week as recommended by the government.

Overall, 14.6 percent of Americans met both the dietary and exercise benchmarks, including 12.4 percent of men and 16.6 percent of women.

The findings come at a time of rising obesity in the United States and concern among public health experts about sedentary lifestyles and diets loaded with fat and sweets.

The report found that 12.6 percent of white men and 17.4 percent of white women reached both benchmarks, compared to 11.2 percent of black men and 12.6 percent of black women and 11.7 percent of Latino men and 14.8 percent of Latino women.

Among all groups, American Indian and Alaska Native men (17.5 percent) and women (19.6 percent) did the best.

"The population right now really needs to take responsibility for their own health," Mary Kay Solera, head of the CDC's National Fruit and Vegetable Program and one of the report's authors, said in a telephone interview.


"People know that they need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and they know they need to be doing more physical activity. But we're not doing it," Solera added.

Unlike other reports tracking such issues, this one examines those behaviors in tandem for a more complete view. It did not assess whether things are getting better or worse.

"Poor diet and lack of physical activity cause chronic disease," Solera said. "As our good habits decrease and you've got a lot of bad habits, then chronic disease is going to increase, health care costs will increase. There are consequences to what we're doing."

The CDC noted that being overweight or obese increases one's risk of heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and other ailments.

The report was based on self-reported data from a 2005 telephone survey of 356,112 Americans. The survey asked respondents to report their level of exercise and their diet with questions such as, "How often do you eat potatoes, not including French fries, fried potatoes or potato chips?"

The report said some of the racial differences in exercise levels detected might be due to a lack of exercise facilities in lower-income, nonwhite communities.

Moderately intense exercise was defined as brisk walking, bicycling, vacuuming, gardening or anything else that causes small increases in breathing or heart rate. Vigorous exercise was defined as running, aerobics, heavy yard work or other things that cause large increases in breathing or heart rate.


        Note that the data collected by this study probably under-reports the scope of current U.S. self-neglect because the findings are based on subjective self-reports. This research didn't seek to learn why most Americans are harming themselves and their families by eating poorly and exercising too little.

        The authors of this government report conclude that the findings "underscore the need to promote (healthy diet and regular exercise) among the U.S. population." Then co-author Solera says "(Americans) already know this, but they're not doing it." This knowledgeable opinion suggest the core question - why don't average Americans (like you) care more about their long-term health?

        My full-time professional research since 1979 suggests an unpleasant four-part answer:

  • So far, the American mental-health profession is ignoring compelling evidence of the toxic cycle of inherited [psychological wounds + unawareness]. Therefore...

  • Most Americans are unaware of being ruled by parts of their personality who steadily prefer short-term comfort to long-term wellbeing and longevity. This promotes epidemic denial (reality distortion) that personal self-neglect will be harmful. And...

  • American voters and laws now passively condone unwise (socially-harmful) child-conception and ineffective parenting. This promotes low-nurturance  ("dysfunctional") families, which promotes kids developing shame-based  personalities that prefer short-term comfort, distort reality, and justify or ignore adult self-neglect. Mainline religious denominations and churches also passively condone this, so far, with some exceptions.

  • Our capitalistic, materialistic American values create ceaseless media and activity distractions to the public. These relentlessly hinder average people from becoming aware of inherited psychological wounds and what that means personally, parentally, and socially.

      If these premises are true, they pose this question: "Could you be unaware of significant psychological wounds?" For an initial answer, see this and this. If you are a ''Grown Wounded Child'' (GWC), then consider patiently studying and applying this free online wound-reduction Lesson.

        For more perspective, see these related research summaries. For three practical ways you can help to break this toxic [wounds + unawareness] cycle, see this.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or ''someone else''?

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