With 60 percent of the United States overweight or obese and the numbers rising everyday, you may have asked yourself, “What’s my risk of weight gain?”
A 2011 report says certain factors of life play a role – outside of the traditional eating right and exercising habits. Lower your risk of weight gain by identifying these trends in life and make a plan to counteract excess pounds.
- The “Freshmen 15” is a myth. Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State, set out to determine if the “freshmen 15” was a real phenomenon. His work was published in the December 2011 issue of Social Science Quarterly,where he reveals that this phase of life doesn’t really exist for most college students. In fact, 25 percent of freshmen actually lose weight and of those that gain, the average runs between 2.4 and 3.5 pounds. Over the course of the four years the numbers increase, but only nominally. The average female gains 8.9 pounds over the four-year period, while the average male gains 13.4 pounds. Students who drank heavily or held down a full-time job while going to classes were the most likely to gain weight.
- Happy Holidays. The winter holiday season is a long and lingering six-week period of food, family and booze – a wretched combination for anyone trying to stave off extra pounds. Research shows that 51 percent of all weight gain across the general population over the course of one year can be sourced back to the holidays. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains one pound per year over the holidays and never lose it. Individuals who are already overweight gain 5 pounds or more from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
- Is your job making you fat? Many people blame company lunches, birthday cakes in the break room, eight hours of sitting hunched over on a computer, and their job in general, for their weight gain. However, statistically, unemployment has been shown to be a major risk factor for weight gain, not weight loss. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that 8 percent of men gained more than 10 percent of their body weight after becoming unemployed, while a mere 3 percent lost that much following unemployment. Unemployment has been shown to cause issues not only with weight management, but overall health.
- Wedded bliss. This statistic does not bode well for wedded bliss. A study presented at the 2011 Meeting of the American Sociological Association found that getting married increases a woman’s risk of major weight gain by 48 percent. Men were shown to have only small increases in weight gain at a risk of only 28 percent. Both men and women were at a 22 percent risk of experiencing small gains following divorce.
- Kicking the habit. There is never a good reason to smoke, weight can be lost, but smoking takes as much as a decade off of your life. Men and women who quit smoking increase their risk of gaining at least 28 pounds by 8 and 6 percent, respectively, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
- Puppy Love. You know you have reached official relationship status when you start packing on the pounds. The rumors are fact – a 2009 report found that getting comfortable in a relationship will pack on the pounds four times greater than giving up smoking.
Rather than giving up your relationship, the holidays or swearing to be a smoker for life, implement strategies to defy the odds. There are people who do it and have done it – be one of them. Choose to live a healthier lifestyle.