What You'll Learn Here:
~ by Jim Danna, MA
According to the CDC, more than one-third of adults in the United States are no longer overweight… they’re obese.
While the statistics themselves are shocking enough, far worse than the soaring numbers are the long-term health consequences for obese Americans.
According to a recent estimate, the medical care costs attributed to obesity in the United States is a staggering $147 billion annually.1 In addition to the discomfort and social and emotional consequences, obesity is closely linked to numerous other serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, fertility and pregnancy problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and stroke.
And not only adults are affected by obesity. A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) recently found that obesity among youth in 2010 was over 18 percent for children and adolescents aged six through nineteen years of age.3
Despite the shocking statistics and long-held knowledge about the health effects of obesity, the condition is not being taken seriously. According to a recent report from the Penn State College of Medicine, the number of overweight and obese Americans increased by 11 percent over the last decade. During this same time, the percentage of primary care visits which included counseling about a weight loss strategy dropped from 7.8 percent to 6.2 percent.4
Are You Obese? Calculate Your BMI
In order to deal with the problem of obesity, it is necessary to define what it is and look at causes, risk factors, and complications. Once these have been established, treatment and prevention options can be implemented.
In simple terms, obesity means that someone has a higher proportion of body fat than is considered healthy. A standardized tool for measuring obesity is known as the Body Mass Index (BMI). Use this formula to calculate your BMI:
Weight in pounds multiplied by 705 and divided by height in inches squared.
For example, a 285-pound, 5 foot 10′ inch male would have a BMI of 41:
Weight in pounds 285 times 705 = 200925
Height in inches squared: 70 times 70 = 4900
200925 divided by 4900 = 41
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has defined the following BMI categories:
Normal weight = 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight = 25 to 29.9
Obesity = 30 or greater
Visit the National Institute of Health website to calculate your BMI.
An Obese Nation
More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.5 While high BMIs are generally associated with a higher risk of certain diseases and an increase in mortality, a large, lean body mass – such as in the case of body builders or professional athletes – will negate BMI values.6
Obesity Causes and Risk Factors
Consuming more calories than the body can use causes weight gain and obesity. Often, there is a connection to a diet high in fat and calories, and this problem is worsened by inactivity. Imbalances between calories consumed and calories burned may also be linked to obesity-related factors such as behavior, culture, environment, genetics, and hormones.
Known causes and risk factors of obesity:
- Age tends to correlate with less activity and a reduction in caloric requirements
- Certain viral infections may be linked to obesity
- Cessation of smoking
- Diet, including portion size, consumption of high fructose corn syrup, and intake of fat, soft drinks, and high-calorie foods such as candy, desserts, and fast food
- Endocrine factors such as the mechanisms of metabolism, appetite, and satiety
- Family history: obesity in parents increases the risk in children
- Gender: women are more likely to be obese than men; they burn fewer calories and have less muscle mass
- Genetics affects how efficiently the body converts calories to energy, the amount of fat stored, and where it is distributed
- Medical problems: in rare cases obesity can be traced to a medical cause such as low thyroid function or excess production of hormones by the adrenal glands
- Medications such as corticosteroids and tricyclic antidepressants, and some high blood pressure and anti-psychotic medications
- Metabolic syndrome
- Intrauterine factors such as maternal diabetes, maternal smoking, and intrauterine nutrition
- Pregnancy: some women find it difficult to shed the weight gained during pregnancy; breast-feeding may also contribute to weight gain
Complications from Obesity
There are many potentially serious health problems associated with obesity:
- Abdominal hernias
- Abnormal blood fats (high cholesterol, for example)
- Cancer (breast, colon, kidney, and endometrial)
- Coronary artery disease
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Fatty liver disease
- Fertility and pregnancy problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Liver malfunctioning
- Respiratory problems
- Sleep apnea
- Varicose veins
Obesity Prevention and Treatment
Management and treatment of obesity decreases the risk of various health problems associated with the condition, and can also improve the overall quality of your life. While the loss of a small amount of weight – five to ten percent7 – can effect health improvements and/or prevent obesity-related complications, losing weight and keeping it off can be a challenge. Success with weight management requires both lifestyle and behavioral changes.
A weight management program is often a combination of a healthy diet, physical activity, and an alteration of daily routines. More comprehensive programs may include counseling, prescription medications, and even weight-loss surgery.
Simple steps like an effective colon cleanse plan combined with the benefits of conjugated linoleic acid have been shown to produce fantastic results. Contact one of our Digestive Wellness Specialists at 1-800-492-4984 so we can help you lose the weight today!