How much does humanity weigh?
By Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily Sun, Jun 17 2012
“North Americans had the highest average body mass of any continent with 178 pounds. Humanity could stand to lose a few pounds. If the entire human population stepped on a scale, the weight would be 316 million tons, or 632 billion pounds, a new study finds. The overweight people in the world carry a total of 16 million tons of extra weight — that’s the equivalent of 242 million normal-weight people. Obese people carry 3.8 million tons of extra weight, the equivalent of 56 million normal-weight people.”
This was an important week in our household. Thursday was our (my husband and I) annual appointment with our public employee health care coach. To get lower health insurance rates, we need to have normal blood pressure, the recommended body fat percentage (or lower) and an acceptable body mass index (BMI) or better. Have you looked at the numbers recently? To get these ‘normal’ numbers you need to be in shape (by today’s standards anyway). So, while I live a healthy lifestyle and have made the numbers each year in the past, I tend to panic each June. Will this be the year I am identified as overweight and therefore have to pay more?
Our nation is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and its subsequent impact on health insurance costs is helping me to critically evaluate my lifestyle. Why do I schedule 45 minutes a day to exercise rather than building exercise into my life routines? I have a bike. I can walk. So, why don’t I limit my driving and explore using my body to get from point A to point B?
So that is what I have started to do and let me just say biking is hard! It hurts. The sweat, the heavy breathing, the relearning arm signals. I live on a ridge so leaving home is the easy part. I can pedal out of my driveway and coast for about 1.6 miles. After that it gets dicey. I live in a city of hills so I am constantly shifting gears to make it to the top of a hill before screaming down the other side. After all the ups and downs when I finally head home I have two large hills that are my challenge. I have learned to make it up the first hill. The second hill, I walk my bike.
But even though it is hard work, I have prevailed and realized I should view life as one big workout, not just my scheduled workout times each day. I have used my feet or bike for the majority of trips I made this week . I even rode to my health care assessment appointment. I arrived 30 minutes before my appointment sweaty, smelly and tired. I walked into the public restroom and wished there was a shower. With no shower in sight I relied on wet paper towels for a sponge bath. It was finally my turn and the first thing the health coach told me was to remove my shoes so she could record my height and weight. Uh oh, I had been pedaling in these shoes all week. Maybe I should have purchased some odor eaters.
We need to return to our prairie roots. Living on the prairie was hard, physical work. Embrace sweat each day. Our bodies welcome it.
“Live simply so others may simply live.” Mother Teresa
p.s. hip, hip hooray, I made my numbers!