Wednesday, October 19, 2011

End The Trend of Obesity

It's startling. In an article written by Elizabeth Mendes for Gallup, the obesity rate is now higher than 20% for ALL 50 states in America. The state with the lowest obesity rate is Colorado at 20.1%. The state with the highest obesity rate is West Virginia at 34.3%. That means that the National Average is now 27.2 percent. Think about that for a moment; over one quarter of our country's population is now considered OBESE.

Let's just take a moment to look at some of the numbers for what they are. The current population of America is a little over 311 million people. If the national average is 27.2 percent, that means that roughly 85 million people in America are considered obese. Let that sink in for a minute; not over weight, but obese.

According to WebMD, obesity is an excess portion of body fat. A person is considered obese when his/her weight is 20% above normal. The most common measure of obesity is the BMI or Body Mass Index which measures a person's percent of body fat. A person is considered overweight if their BMI is between 25 and 29.9. A person is considered obese is their BMI is 30 or higher, and they're considered Morbidly Obese is the BMI is over 40.

Obesity occurs when a person takes in more calories than they burn. For many people, this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. But there are other factors that play a role in a person's BMI. These can include: Age, Gender, Genetics, Environmental Factors, Physical Activity, Psychological Factors, Illness and Medication.

Obesity can lead to a plethora of health problems down the road; they include Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and certain types of Cancer, Osteoarthritis and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

The Problem

As stated above, there are extenuating circumstances that lead to some people's obesity, but for the most part, it just comes down to good old over eating. The recommended Daily Caloric Intake is 2,500 Calories for Men, 2,000 Calories for Women, and 1,800 Calories for Children ages 5-10. But not surprisingly, in a report from the United Nations tracked the Caloric Intake of Americans from 2001-2003 and found the average American consumed 3,770 calories per day. That report does not differentiate between Men, Women or Children; that's just the average.

Americans are eating more and exercising less. That's the problem. We have become a nation of sedentary lifestyle. Video Games have replaced kids playing in the yard. Automation in the workplace has replaced hard work. Fast food restaurants with their 1,000 calorie drive through death knell constantly jingling on the television or over their car's radio lure people to bad health and worse diets like the Sirens' Songs lured the sailors to crash into the rocks in the Sinbad Movies from years gone by. It's gone beyond a trend, it's an epidemic.

The Solution

There is in fact only one solution to this problem. Americans need to eat more healthy foods and get back to exercising. Diet and exercise are the mainstays in treating obesity. As your Grandfather used to say, "There's no replacement for good old-fashioned elbow grease." Obesity is the LEADING PREVENTABLE cause of death in the world, and yet, not many (comparatively speaking) seem to care.

Oh, it's for certain that many people say they care; last year alone over $35 Billion was spent in the healthcare/fitness industry. Gym memberships were up, but so were waistlines. We've all seen the 2:00 am infomercial for the "Tummy 1000", and people flock to these things and buy them in bulk, only to hang socks or towels on them within 2 weeks of their arrival.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for someone deciding to make a change and get their bodies back to being healthy again. The problem with some of these quick fix machines is that they're just designed to separate the fool from his money in hopes that they can see their toes again sometime soon. There is no quick fix for reversing the effects of obesity.

People today spend a great deal of money buying Gym Memberships, only to be frustrated by the people there, coupled together with the fact that they don't really know how to work out properly. So, after a few weeks, the gym membership goes the way of the Tummy 1000, only you can't hang a towel on it, it's just wasted money.

There are some really good programs out there however. But Caveat Emptor or buyer beware, only the programs that offer hard work, coupled together with proper diet and nutrition can be expected to help get them where they want to be. There's no pie in the sky promises that if you'll just squeeze this for 30 seconds a day you'll have abs like the Governator in two weeks. A real workout program only promises that if you'll stick with them every day and do the best you can in the workouts, you'll not only get slimmer and healthier, but you'll feel a lot better as well.

Now, obviously these types of workout programs are not for everyone. Some, because of medical conditions, are never going to be able to do the aforementioned workouts, but that's the exception not the rule. But even if those folks can't do the workouts, they still can watch their diet, and there are numerous vitamins and supplements they could incorporate into their diet. A person can also look into drinking a Meal Replacement Drink, which generally has all the vitamins and nutrients you need for a day, in one Meal Replacement Shake, with little to no fat, low carbohydrates and a fair amount of protein, and most times at very low calories.

If a person were to only drink one of these shakes per day, just imagine what that might do. If the average American is engulfing 3,770 calories per day, what would the results be by drinking one Meal Replacement Shake per day? If we only look at replacing one meal in their current dietary intake, then on average, they would shorten their caloric intake by 1,116 calories, which would result in 7,812 less calories in a one week period. Just by drinking one Meal Replacement Shake a day, it would be the same result at the end of a week missing 2 days of their normal diet. And since the FDA states that getting rid of 3,500 calories per week results in losing one pound, that would be 2 pounds per week, and that's if they did nothing else different.

There are alternatives out there to dying an early death just because one could not control their diet or just didn't care.

Hard work, a sensible diet and the proper nutrients; this is the only way to end the trend of obesity. Or you could just squeeze the Tummy 1000 while you're waiting in line at the drive-thru.

Dan Gandee is a husband, father of five and grandfather of two. He is a Team BeachBody Coach who is passionate about ending the trend of obesity and helping others get in great shape through hard work and proper diet. He is also an authorized distributor of Shakeology Meal Replacement Shake. He can be reached with any questions at

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