15 Bad Health Habits That Are Undeniably American

Americans are known for their love of baseball, Hollywood, and die-hard patriotism. But that’s not all. Americans are also known for fast food, a fast paced lifestyle, and poor eating habits that are killing many.

Approximately 97.3% of Americans admit to not exercising, having a poor diet, smoking, and gaining weight, according to a study by Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Not staying healthy can promote disease such as cancer, diabetes, cancer, and stroke.

What are the unhealthy American habits that could be making you sick? The health habit on page 13 has reached epidemic levels.

1. Love of fast food

Trump McDonald's

President Donald Trump isn’t the only American who indulges in fast food as just about every American loves it too, Vox reports. Although fast food prevalence isn’t as commonplace as it was years ago, many Americans hit a fast food joint at some point within a three-week period.

2. Mindless eating

Teenager girl eating and watching tv

One reason Americans are gaining weight is due to mindless eating in front of the computer, television, or other electronic device. “Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat, and then ask ourselves if we’re full. The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you,” Brian Wansink, PhD said during his presentation at American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention, The American Psychological Association reports.

3. Endless work hours

Stressed business woman in the office

The average American adult works longer and more hours than ever, according to The Motley Fool. An estimated 40% of Americans work more than 50 hours a week and 20% work 60 plus hours per week. Longer hours may lead to burn out, sleep disruptions, and stress.

4. Being plugged in 24/7

An attendee looks at a display of new Google device

Americans are also pretty distracted and stressed thanks to being plugged into a number of devices, according to The New York Times. At least 40% of Americans check work email while on vacation or after hours, although 65% said they could get along without a computer. One retired individual told The New York Times, “Every single electronic device absolutely causes some stress.”

5. Binge drinking

Mature man drinking

Binge drinking in America is an ongoing problem as one in six Americans binge drinks four times a month, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC considers binge drinking to be about seven drinks per binge. Men are more likely to binge drink than women and may result in fatal car crashes, disease, and dependence.

6. Loose gun laws

rows of guns in the UK

Americans own more guns than any just about any other country and lead the world in gun deaths as well, according to PBS News Hour. Gun control is a hot topic, a debate often resurfacing following mass shootings.

7. Sedentary lifestyle

Man lying on the couch

Not only what we do, but what we don’t do can create a health hazard. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to disease and death, The Huffington Post reports. In fact 20% of deaths result from being a couch potato for those age 35 and older. Plus, 80% of American adults don’t meet basic physical activity requirements.

8. Sugar addiction

Sprinkles cupcakes disney

The average American ingests about 20 teaspoons of sugar each day, which directly contributes to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease, Healthline reports. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t realize they are eating such a large amount of sugar. “What happens is that Americans are having dessert several times a day and don’t know it,” Dr. Alan Greene told Healthline.

9. Love of soda

Young woman seated at a terrace taking soda coke

Americans love soda. Although overall sugary drink consumption is declining, at least 60% of children and 50% of adults still drink a beverage that contains sugar, according to The New York Times. Drinking too much soda is linked to reduced kidney function, diabetes, obesity, and more.

10. Supersized portions

delicious lunch in social network

Supersized portions are a trend in the U.S., but so are the sizes of plates, bowls and utensils, Medium reports. American restaurant food portions have nearly tripled in the last 20 years, which is linked to the rising obesity problem, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports.

“Super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size, and that affects how much we eat at home as well,” said Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

11. Avoid the doctor

Male doctor talking to patient

Up to 50% of Americans between the ages of 45 and 59 admit to not receiving medical care due to cost, MarketWatch reports. Even Americans with health insurance find costs to be too much. “And 80% of the people we surveyed had health insurance, so just having insurance does not make you immune to health care costs,” Dr. Zia Agha, chief medical officer at the West Health Institute said to MarketWatch.

12. Not using sunscreen

Happy family lying on sand beach and look at sea surf

Many Americans are not protecting their skin and increasing their risk for skin cancer, Science Daily reports. Only 14.3% of men and nearly 30% of women use sunscreen on a daily basis, the CDC found, with more women using sunscreen on their face. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or more.

13. Painkiller/opioid abuse

Prescription bottles at Publix

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the overuse of opioid painkillers reached an epidemic level. In 2016 alone 116 people died every day from overdosing on opioids and 11.5 million people misused the drug in the U.S.

14. Stress and anxiety

Desperate employee

More Americans report being anxious, according to the American Psychological Association. Approximately 63% report the state of the country as being their main source of stress, 62% say finances stress them out, and 61% say work is their source of anxiety. Part of the issue stems from the 24/7 news cycle and constantly checking social media that keeps Americans anxious.

15. Not caring about the environment

Storm clouds push toward downtown

While most Americans say they care about the environment, only a small percentage actually take steps to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle, according to Pew Research Center. A healthy environment means clean air, preserving the planet for future generations, and preventing super storms due to increasing temperatures, according to Eco Admirer. Climate change could also negatively impact food resources, wildlife, and forests.

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