When thinking about the typical healthy lifestyle in America most may call upon a popular Instagram influencer or celebrity showing off their flat stomach in a conveniently posed (and likely photoshopped) picture, or maybe an attractive man flexing an impressive pair of biceps for the camera. Unfortunately, these cosmetic ideals are not always the healthy mirage the public is blindly led to believe. Wight loss programs, pills, and potions are running rampant on our social media, trying to present themselves as body positive while simultaneously feeding off of the insecurities of their target audiences. With the average person spending upwards of two hours on social media every day, it’s never been more important to know what’s really going on inside of the human body.
While knowing the facts about general health could be the difference between a long life and one cut short by heart disease, it could also be what stands between a healthy lifestyle and suffering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Despite the recent shift in American society towards body positivity and being proud of all shapes and sizes in our bodies, there is still a myriad of products advertised on social media with a focus on appearing slimmer and therefore ‘healthier.’ In 2016 there was a boom in waist trainers, a varient of a corset that were modeled by beauty icons like the Kardashians that proved to have some painful side effects. While not as severe as traditional corsets, many of the problems women found themselves facing were similar to those of a hundred years ago.
By restricting their diaphragm women ran the risk of fainting, the tight fitting garment caused bruising to the ribs, chafing, and acid reflux. All this, and the trainers never provided any long lasting body moulding effects like they claimed, only a long lasting feeling of failure in many consumers who’s self-esteem surely took a hit when the product never worked. Other miracle products that promise results are constantly cycling through feeds on social media; laxative teas, weight loss pills, and appetite supressors are marketed to progressively younger and younger audiences who may not yet understand the health risks behind the products and what their body actually needs to stay in working order. Jameela Jamil, an actress native to the UK, recently has spoken out against these products on her Twitter account and shared her story about fighting body dysmorphia and recovering from anorexia and how these products made her sick and worsened her self-esteem and mental health.
Many American women assume that because they aren’t a size two, there must be something wrong with their bodies, their food intake, and their general health. Knowing the way their body functions, learning how food really works in keeping us energized, and that eating less over eating right is never the answer are all vital to keeping our society healthier. The opposite end of the spectrum still exists. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer have all been linked to poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and poor health choices and all three are sitting pretty in the top 10 causes of death for American citizens. Obesity affects more than 93 million adults and costs the country $147 billion annually.
Learning about possible health hazards like tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, a poor diet, and little exercise at a young age and promoting positive health habits that evolve with the person as they age could potentially stop these diseases in their tracks before they can cost someone years off their life. America’s battle for healthy living cannot be faught in ignorance. America wants to be healthy, clearly seen by our prominent workout culture and obsession with dieting, but too many citizens don’t know the proper way to achieve their goals, are decieved by companies claiming to want to help them just to make a quick buck, or are barred from this knowledge altogether. People are unintentionally hurting themselves trying to fix their health because they were not educated in the proper way to take care of their bodies, and it needs to end sooner rather than later.