Since the 1960s, Americans have grown roughly an inch taller ... and 25 pounds heavier. According to researchers, these increases can be attributed to too much food and not enough exercise.

Fast food, television and less walking are of the some reasons for the nation's expanding waistline. Also, with countless channels on television, computers, video games, e-mail and technological advances, it is no wonder people are so inactive.

Obesity increases the likelihood of health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This growing obesity epidemic may eventually overtake tobacco use as the leading cause of preventable death.

From 1960 to 2002, the average weight jumped from:

Men: 166.3 pounds to 191 pounds Women: 140.2 pounds to 164.3 pounds Body mass index for adults (ages 20-74) has increased from 25 to 28 Even the average weight of a 10-year-old has increased about 11 pounds in the last 40 years. Because of these statistics, researchers fear what kind of effect the obesity epidemic will have on the next generation of adults.

In addition, the average height of Americans has increased, though not as dramatically as weight. According to studies, the average height increased from:

Men: 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 ½ inches Women: 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 4 inches In order for one to reach their genetic potential height, the body needs a certain amount of nourishment. American's have not only achieved this goal, but they have unfortunately begun to exceed it.

Researchers explain that when the body reaches its capacity of calories, any additional calories consumed are turned into fat.

The Tallahassee Democrat October 28, 2004

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

An overwhelming 40 percent of American adults lead sedentary lives. That is why it comes as no surprise we are faced with this growing obesity epidemic.

In order to protect yourself from becoming another victim of the of the obesity epidemic, you must start by conquering ED -- exercise deficiency. This means you should shut off the television and get moving.

Most people, especially doctors, don't tend to appreciate how powerful exercise is. However, you must keep in mind that exercise is like a drug: If you don't use it in the right dose, it will not work. Many thousands of people have told me they THOUGHT they were exercising enough, but they were actually under-dosed.

One of the keys in using exercise is to make certain minimum thresholds are met. By doing so, you will not only normalize insulin levels, but you will also experience weight loss and the normalization of blood sugars.

Exercise works by increasing the sensitivity of insulin receptors so that the insulin present works much more effectively and your body doesn't need to produce as much.

Typically, Americans don't appreciate or understand optimum exercise. This may be because many have not previously competed in an aerobic sport, which allows you to understand the feelings of "training" and how hard you have to push yourself to obtain aerobic and insulin benefits.

There are three important variables to exercise:

Length of time Frequency Intensity I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising to one hour a day. Initially the frequency is daily. This is a treatment dose until they normalize their weight or insulin levels. Once normalized, they will only need to exercise three to four times a week.

You should exercise hard enough so that it is difficult to talk to someone next to you. When you are exercising that hard your cardiovascular system is under such a significant amount of stress that the mere act of talking makes you unable to provide your body with enough oxygen. However, if you cannot carry on a conversation AT ALL, then you have gone too far and need to decrease the intensity.

Exercising, and of course eating right, should come naturally in your daily life. You can learn more about incorporating the right exercise program into your life by reading Paul Chek's newest book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, a perfect complement to my nutritional plan.

Chek's book challenges you to take control of your health and gives you the steps to designing your own individual nutrition and exercise program. You will find the many descriptive "how to" illustrations both easy to follow and implement into your exercise routine.

And right now, you can get both my bestselling Total Health book and Paul Chek's book together and receive 25 percent off their regular price!