Shorter lives for couch potatoes?



Modern medicine and progress in public health services have allowed people in the western world to live longer. While an average American lived for only 47 years around the 1900s they extended their lives to 68 in 1950 and almost 80 today.

However , some health experts warn that we are not doing enough to stay healthy. More and more people in developed countries have become couch potatoes. They eat too much and exercise too little. Some experts even predict that today’s children may, in fact, live shorter than their parents.

More and more children are getting diseases that typically older people get – like heart illnesses and type 2 diabetes. Two thirds of all adults are overweight as well.

Medical journals predict that obesity will actually shorten life expectancy by two to three years in the upcoming decades. Especially children are at risk. Obesity in children has tripled since 1970. Besides this more and more money will have to be invested in health care because an increasing number of people need treatment for heart problems and diabetes.



On the other side people can live with obesity for a long time and become old if they get the right treatment quickly. Most of them take pills for high blood pressure or a higher cholesterol level. But this can mean a life full of pills and constant doctor’s visits.

There are many doctors who see no problem with being overweight as long as you exercise enough. And they may even be healthier than thinner people.




Related Topics



  • adult = grown up person
  • average = normal
  • blood pressure = the force with which blood travels through your body
  • cholesterol = a chemical substance found in your blood ; too much of it is unhealthy
  • constant = regular
  • couch potato = a person who spends a lot of time sitting and watching television
  • developed country = industrialized or rich country
  • disease = illness
  • especially = above all
  • exercise = do sports or other physical activities
  • extend = to make longer
  • health care = the service that is responsible for looking after the health of all people in a country
  • however = but
  • life expectancy = how long someone will live when they are born
  • obesity = when someone is very fat in an unhealthy way
  • overweight = to be too heavy
  • predict = to say that something will happen in the future
  • progress = step forward; to make something better
  • public = free, for everybody
  • treatment = something that is done to make a person healthy again
  • triple = there times as much
  • type 2 diabetes = serious illness in which there is too much sugar in your blood
  • upcoming = future