Ah millennials, they’re smarter than you, they’re more tech savvy than you, and they’re…fatter than you?
According to recent studies, millennials – people born between the 1980s and mid 1990s – are likely to become “one of the heaviest generations on record” as 7 out of 10 will be overweight by their mid 30s or early 40s. When compared to baby boomers which had 5 out of 10 people being obese at the same age, it becomes clear that a problem is starting to happen.
In America where 40% of the population is considered obese, one in every 5 children between the age of 6 and 19 is considered obese. (1)
Childhood obesity can lead to a wide array of problems, including: (2)
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Social discrimination
What’s even worse is that obesity-related cancers are on the rise with millennials. Cancers that have historically been associated with old age including gallbladder, kidney and pancreatic are becoming increasingly more common with young adults. Millennials are considered to be twice as likely to have these cancers than baby boomers.
On the other hand, non-obesity related cancers are actually on the decline with millennials. (1)
This isn’t to say that obesity is actually causing cancer in millennials – that’s still being looked into – but those who are obese stand a greater risk of getting cancer.
With that in mind, here are 6 ways to prevent obesity for you or your child, as well as to help avoid the risk of cancer or other health problems. (1)
1. Eat Healthier
This should be a no-brainer really. But eating healthier involves a few different factors: (4)
- Eat More Clean Food – Add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts into your diet to make sure you get all of your essential nutrients. Make sure you have something green with every meal. You should have 5 to 9 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. If your meals mostly consist of things that are brown or grey, you’re doing it wrong.
- Limit Sweets and Fatty Foods – This and the last one go hand in hand. While you are introducing more nutrients into your diet, make sure you are also watching what kind of special treats you are eating. Do you need that extra scoop of ice cream? Perhaps instead of a candy bar for that afternoon snack, you grab an apple instead?
- Portion Control – Watch how much food you are putting on your plate. You don’t need to overload, just eat until you feel full, not until it’s all gone. This will lead to less overeating.
2. Drink More Water
Drinking more water and staying hydrated is extremely important. It helps speed up your metabolism so you can better digest food. It also helps spread essential nutrients throughout your body, as well as helps you excrete unneeded waste. Drinking more water will even help you feel less hungry all the time, which will lead to less overeating, making it easier to keep the weight off. (3)
Yes, today we are busier and busier, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to fit in a little bit of exercise. You don’t need to be going to the gym every day, but even taking a half hour walk on your lunch break or when you get home from work will make a big difference in releasing pent up energy and helping you lose weight. (4)
4. Get More Sleep
These days we are always on the move, but no matter how busy you are, you need to get your sleep. It is when you sleep that your body resets and re-energizes, making it easier for you to get through your day. When you are well rested and more energized, you are able to exercise more and be healthier. (4)
5. Limit Your Screen Time
There’s no question that today we have more entertainment options than ever before. Every day a new binge-worthy TV show drops on our favorite streaming platform and video games are better than ever. But if you are spending too much time sitting and watching TV, playing video games, or watching movies, you are also spending time NOT exercising. This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy these things, but just like anything else, they are best when enjoyed in moderation. (4)
6. Limit Your Stress
Work, paying bills, and protecting your loved ones are all things that can get you pretty stressed. You should find ways to limit stress levels. Consider meditating or finding a hobby that calms you. When your stress is reduced, you will have a healthier appetite which will lead to eating an appropriate amount. (4)
If you aren’t already doing the above mentioned things, it would be best to consider making some changes in your life, especially if you’re starting to feel a bit on the heavier side. Those who are overweight in their 20s or 30s are more likely to put on more weight later in life when it will become even harder to shed those unwanted pounds.