As a nation, have we become lazier in recent years? We exercise less, eat more ‘fast food,’ and work too many hours—all to our health.

When did you last see the instructions before putting something together or making it work? Although, according to the article, “95 percent of all returned gadgets still work, Americans don’t read manuals,” only 5% of returns are because an item is broken. Generally, an item is returned because it doesn’t meet customer expectations. Perhaps it’s too confusing to use (68%), or the buyer returns the object due to a change of heart (26%), frequently called “buyer’s remorse.”

However, consumer frustration often comes from not taking the time to read and understand what was purchased. For instance, a friend who works in the customer call center of a large health care insurance company explains that members call because they either don’t understand or have not taken the time to read their insurance coverage.

There aren’t insufficient hours in the day to do all we have to do. So it becomes easier to rely on someone else or put off doing what we know needs to be done. However, when it comes to being lazy, reading instructions or defaulting to someone else for the answer aren’t the only areas where Americans fall on the job.

Increase in Average Weight and Associated Diseases

About 36% of Americans are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While drugs, illnesses, and genetics may contribute to obesity, environmental variables such as calorie intake and lack of physical exercise also play a role.

According to the Get Fit America Foundation, 78% of Americans do not fulfill the fundamental exercise guidelines. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites that five times as many people watch television as exercise daily. Those who exercise receive less than an hour every day. The CDC reports that only 20% of adults over 18 years of age get sufficient “aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity.” That means 80% do not.

According to the November 2017 Gallup Well-being article, “In U.S., Self-Reported Weight Up Nearly 20 Pounds Since 1990,” American men and women are 20 pounds heavier today than the average reported in 1990. Statistics show these diseases are related to obesity:

  • 80% of type II diabetes;
  • 70% of cardiovascular disease;
  • 42% of breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals;
  • 30% of gall bladder surgery.

The first step in controlling your weight and managing related diseases is to get the recommended amount of exercise prescribed by the federal government. A recent ABC news report indicates the current amount is 150 minutes per week. That’sHowever, that’s a mere 30-minute workout five days a week.

American Workforce Getting Lazier According to Some

Exercising and eating aren’t the only areas in our lives where we’ve taken the easy road. Some say that laziness has leaked into the workplace as well.

“Are American employees become lazy? Writer Anthony Mirhaydari suggests that “many qualified workers seem to be turning their noses at jobs they see as demeaning. Or they don’t pay what they need, and instead, abandon the job to go it alone or retire.”

Mirhaydari is unsure whether to blame employees for being lazy or companies for not rewarding even long-term jobless. Writer Kasey Steinbrinck probably would criticize the employers.

In the post he wrote, “Are You a Fat and Lazy American Worker?” he cites a Newsweek article that claims Americans have the fewest vacation days and holidays and work more hours per week and weeks per year. We put in more time at work than in other industrialized countries, by his estimate. Additionally, according to the BLS, he states that American worker productivity has increased by 400% since 1950.

From Steinbrinck’s viewpoint, it sounds as if American workers aren’t lazy at all. However, Americans working more hours doesn’t mean they are more productive. Though many agree with this Inc. article, “U.S. Workers Ranked as World’s Most Productive,” which reports that American employees are extremely hard workers, others quote BLS figures to refute this fact.

Computers and Television Substitute for Playing and Babysitting

No computers grew up in the sixties, and television programs were in infancy. Television stations didn’t even operate 24 hours a day. Instead, they signed off at night with a flag-waving to the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner.

I can remember going to bed without dinner more than once because I didn’t come home when the streetlights came on (a sign that it was getting dark outside), as my parents had warned me to do. I was too busy playing hide-and-seek or skating with my friends. You would never catch me inside watching television while the sun was still shining.

A 2020 research in the journal Pediatrics“children with high levels of screen entertainment use” (television and computers) and low physical activity levels are more likely to have psychological difficulties.

That doesn’t mean that all computer use is terrible. On the contrary, many iPad apps and games appear to offer good opportunities for teaching young children. As Americans become more technologically dependent, we forgo some of life’s most minor pleasures, such as long strolls on the beach or a good game of tennis to work out the stress.

It’s time to look in the mirror. Are we relying too much on conveniences or blaming busy schedules to the detriment of our physical, mental, and social health? To avoid it is to be proactive and not a lazy American.