In the U.S., fitness has become an afterthought and people honestly consider it "exercise" when they choose to walk into McDonald's instead of hitting up the drive-thru. While big government agencies love to pay lip service to public health initiatives, they really only care about pleasing their corporate puppet masters.
In other countries, there are more engaging forms of public encouragement to get people moving. As a recent Twitter post shares, an initiative in Russia offered citizens a free train ticket -- if they did 30 squats for it first.
Shared by @ZonePhysics earlier this summer, the following video clip showcases a man doing squats in front of a machine at a subway station in Russia. The machine counts your squats: If you do 30, you get a free ride on the subway. Not a bad deal, no?
As Wired reports, this initiative was launched in 2013 to help get people more active and to encourage excitement about the then-upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. To help conjure up excitement about the games, the "squat machine" would dispense a free subway ticket to anyone who performed 30 squats.
Can you imagine implementing something like that in the United States? It is patently obvious that most of the U.S. population needs to move more and eat less, but it's hard to imagine something like this "squat machine" going up in an American train station without complaint.
Experts say that most "lifestyle diseases" can be prevented with dietary and lifestyle modifications.
From Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition by Willet et. al.:
Among U.S. adults, more than 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of CAD, 70 percent of stroke, and 70 percent of colon cancer are potentially preventable by a combination of nonsmoking, avoidance of overweight, moderate physical activity, healthy diet, and moderate alcohol consumption.
In other words, by eating better, being more active and keeping a healthy weight, most people can reduce their risk for most common health issues. But do people really know what that means? A recent survey finds that 75 percent of American adults think they already eat healthy -- even though evidence shows 80 percent don't even eat their fruits and vegetables.
The food industry spends billions of dollars marketing their crap food to kids and adults alike, often using celebrities to help push their products even further. But processed snacks, prepackaged meals and sugar-sweetened beverages aren't going to make people healthy.
There is a real disconnect between what is actually healthy, and what people think is healthy -- and a lot of this is due to marketing from Big Food. As NPR notes, most people think granola bars are a "healthy" food, even though most nutritionists agree the average granola bar is really just glorified candy.
Obesity in America has already spiraled out of control. This is good news for Big Food, but it is bad news for the people who lose their lives because of it. Learn more about what you're eating (and what not to eat) at Food.news.
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