Obesity Is the Single Biggest Health Crisis Facing America Today

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one third of US adults are obese. That’s one out of every three individuals. America’s fascination for weight loss shows should have prepared us for this news.

In CDC’s National Health and Nutrition survey, they note that obesity rates are higher among those hitting middle age. At around 40 years old, the body naturally begins to slow down its metabolic burn rate. Combine this natural process with a decline in physical activities for those at this age, and we get a few possible answers about this crisis. But dig a little deeper, and there’s more beneath the surface.

In an obesity prevention article published by Harvard’s School of Public Health, the causes they list include…

  • Television. Too much of it, in fact. In various studies conducted over the years, TV has been consistently linked to obesity. There is evidence that points to curbing TV time as a means of obesity prevention.
  • Genes. But not as much as one might think. A healthy lifestyle can override genetic predisposition for weight gain.
  • Prenatal influences. Studies have shown that pregnant mothers who were overweight or who smoked during pregnancy may have offspring who battle with obesity.
  • An unhealthy diet and out of control portions. Junk food, fast food, highly processed foods, huge portion sizes, and bad snacking habits. That’s just to start. The western diet’s focus on refined grains and too much red meat also play a significant role in the nation’s battle with obesity.
  • The sitting disease. Inactivity and a lack of exercise combined with unhealthy eating habits are a reliable recipe for weight gain. And most probably obesity. While exercise is one of the surest ways for keeping weight off, a lack of exercise can also be counted as one of the surest ways to pile on the pounds.

How overweight does a person need to be to be classified as obese? It’s a matter of your body mass index. Your body mass index or BMI takes into consideration your height and weight to determine whether you are overweight or obese. Based on research and findings, the CDC states that a healthy BMI range is between 18.5 to 25. If a person’s BMI is higher than 30, that person is likely obese.

Calculating one’s BMI is a useful and quick tool for analyzing one’s general health. But getting a complete assessment from a doctor is recommended for those with possible health problems.

Why is obesity a health crisis?

Obesity is a serious affliction. If not curbed, it can result in health complications that can be life threatening. One study found that obesity is associated with a 36 percent rise in health care spending. Why? Obesity has been linked to, and/or further exacerbates, the following conditions:

  • arthritis
  • various cancers
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • type II diabetes
  • hypertension

Over 75 million Americans are afflicted with high blood pressure, and five million are diabetic. And heart disease is the top cause of death for both men and women in the US. The strain on our health care system is clear. But what options are out there for those suffering from obesity?

A lifestyle change is the best option for those looking to overcome obesity. This lifestyle change includes being more active and radically changing one’s diet. Joining a support group for weight loss can also help provide appropriate social peer pressure.

Some individuals battling obesity opt for a bariatric procedure to jumpstart their weight loss program. Bariatric surgery involves reducing the size of one’s stomach. Reviews at Barix Clinics, a clinic that performs bariatric procedures, show patients with vastly improved health after the procedure.

Combining a procedure such as this one from Barix Clinics with a lifestyle change is becoming a highly popular approach for those looking to shed the obese label.

Image Credits: Flickr

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