There’s nothing beautiful about America’s obesity problem. Just consider these alarming facts:
• An estimated 69 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese.
• Almost 36 percent of American adults are obese. That will increase to 44 percent by 2030 if rates don’t change.
• Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In fact, more than one-third of children under age 18 are either overweight or obese.
The negative health consequences are enormous. Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, which affects more than 26 million Americans, and high blood pressure, found in 67 million Americans. Other medical problems associated with obesity include diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, and bone and joint problems. Obese men are more likely to die from cancer of the colon, rectum and prostate. Obese women are at greater risk for cancer of the gallbladder, breast, uterus, cervix and ovaries.
It’s time to get serious about the obesity epidemic.
Step 1: Talk to Your Physician
Your doctor can measure your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if you are obese or overweight. BMI uses your height and weight to measure your body fat. For adults, a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese; a score of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. BMI calculators can also be found online at www.cdc.gov.
Step 2: Start Losing Weight
A combination of better nutrition and moderate exercise is usually the first step to losing weight. Talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program.
Step 3: Consider Other Options
In some severe cases, other techniques, such as behavior modification or weight-loss drugs, may need to be considered. Another option is bariatric surgery, which reduces the number of calories absorbed by the body.
Sources: CDC, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation