Obesity is a condition in which an individual has an excessive amount of body fat. The term "overweight" also connotes excess weight but usually indicates a lesser degree of extra fat compared to obesity. Obesity in most developed countries has reached epidemic proportions and is creating a health crisis. Government statistics indicate that more than $100 billion is spent per year in the management of obesity.
The BMI and waist circumference are commonly used as screening tools to determine the extent of the weight issue. In addition to the results of these tests, the physician takes into account the distribution of body fat...that is, where is much of the fat visibly located? The more serious distribution is around the abdomen...belly fat. This location seems to increase the risk of developing chronic diseases as a result of obesity.
Conditions which are known to be precipitated or worsened by obesity are called "comorbidities" and they include:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- gall bladder disease
- liver disease
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder..."burping up" of stomach contents)
- sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders (such as bronchitis)
- varicose veins
...and there are many, many more!
Adults who had a high BMI as teenagers also have a greater risk of developing complications related to obesity than those whose BMI was in the normal range during adolescence.
Children need special attention because if obesity is allowed to persist, they will have been obese for a longer time when they reach adulthood. Thus they stand a greater risk of developing chronic diseases associated with obesity at an earlier age.
This sounds like a dismal situation. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That "light" leads to a future in which obesity will no longer be a "health crisis" or an "epidemic". Rather, just as a mere three decades ago, obesity will be the exception rather than the rule.
And how will this happen?
We each need to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our families. We need to educate ourselves about the proper way to live and eat and thrive. This "new way" really isn't so new. It means returning to a healthier time when fast foods and pre-packaged meals and high-fat snacks and excessive portions and sugar-laden beverages were not even available.
- To regain health, let's cut down the portion sizes...today.
- We're eating two, or even three, times the amount of food we need. Stop it!
- We're guzzling tablespoons of sugar in our beverages...cut them out.
- Eliminate all sugar-sweetened beverages.
- And, let's get "on the move" again. Make motion a part of life...use the stairs (our ancestors didn't even have elevators. One might point out that buildings weren't a gazillion stories high then either.
- However, even if you can't walk the 118 flights of stairs to your office, you can walk two flights. Get out on floor number 116 and walk the rest of the way).
- Routinely use the restroom on another floor and use the stairs to get there. The point is, we need to revise our thinking about movement.
- Forget the all-or-nothing approach. Forget the marathon! Forget the Iditerod! Forget bench-pressing 300 pounds! Most of us are not designed for grueling workouts. However, we can walk the parking lot instead of choosing the closest place to the door. We can take a walk after dinner. We can play with the kids or the dog.
A few simple changes in lifestyle can make the difference between fitness and obesity...between health and sickness.
It's your choice; I hope you choose today to take control of your life.
Obesity and its side effects are really serious. If you're serious about taking control of your weight, I'll help you.
by Sue Bristol, R.N.
My eBook will lead you through the way to make it work for you, and your obese child, or spouse.
"Click Here" to get your Free e-book, which will give you the "Weight Loss Secret" Kids shouldn't be obese.