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Does Convenience Make Americans Fat? | Mission Blog

By Ev Eric

Correlation ≠ Causation

I have been thinking about conveniences lately, and how they cater to the lowest common denominator or at least to the whim of the average person. They are put in place to help us get things done faster so that we can move on to the more important things in life, like consuming the next convenience.

Now, before I get to charts and data, realize that I do understand that correlation does not equal causation, and this isn't a direct clinical study on the Effects of Convenience on the American Waistline, but there are some pretty disturbing correlations.

Going Up and Down

Over the past few decades, how we get going up and down in places has become a major industry. According to an article by the law firm of Callaway & Wolf, "there are an estimated 900,000 elevators and 50,000 escalators in the United States." That's a lot of staircase replacement! Imagine for a second how much time people spend on escalators and elevators that they're not spending climbing stairs. People say it's too hard to climb the stairs, or that it takes too long, but there are a growing number of people concerned for their health who are taking the stairs.

While considering these statements, please take a moment to read an article posted in 2011 by Dr. Sue Pederson on obesity and diabetes.

Doing absolutely nothing

There was a new movie theater constructed just a couple of miles from our house, and we pass it often on our errands. As my children were very young, we would notice the theater parking lot was full of cars, and I would joke with them, "look at all of those people that are in there staring at a wall!" I haven't been to a movie theater since Star Wars Episode III was released, but yes, we do watch the occasional DVD or PBS show. But on the other side of that, consider this staggering study:

"According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube."
Sorce: http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html 

This trend doesn't seem to be slowing down when you consider the new cable and digital TV subscriptions per year:

 There's talk of this number starting to come down, but the reason why is due, not to people getting outside and DOING something, but replacing this with TV delivered via Internet. So, the SNL Kagan group has another set of data for you: the number of high-speed Internet subscriptions (below).

So now what? These are some HUGE numbers that are correlating with the creation of some HUGE people!

We have to set the example. That's all we can do, unless we want to start picketing and shouting, or organizing mass workouts in public (that's actually a pretty awesome idea... who's with me!?!?!?)

It starts with you. Yes, you. The person reading this article. If you are increasing these statistics, then stop. Get out there, and save some lives, because being hauled up and down in boxes or conveyers only to get home and sit mindlessly in front of a TV or computer screen is not living.

It's just... being alive.

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