Obesity Facts and What You Can Do About It
The problem with being obese is not just physical but social as well. More and more people are faced with this issue, so discussing this topic is very timely.
Everywhere, you probably see the issue of obesity in one way or another. It’s a fact that about one-third of adults or 78.6 million people in the U.S. are obese. Statistics also show that the obesity rate is rising, most especially among Americans who are 65 years old and older.
Gaining excessive weight is not good at all. But what can you do with all the sumptuous buffets and the kind of lifestyle people have today? Is it possible to find a solution to obesity? Yes, but it must begin with knowing all the issues related to this matter.
For the last 25 years, the rate of people becoming obese has grown steadily. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, there are 27.7% obese Americans. The data of the Centers for Disease Control shows about 35% of Americans are obese.
An individual is said to be obese when his percentage body fat is putting him at risk of having different illnesses, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, pulmonary disease, cancer and reproductive disorders. It’s scary that obesity can make almost all of your body organs vulnerable to diseases.
Body mass index or BMI is the determining factor if a person is obese. The formula for computing BMI takes into consideration the person’s weight and height. A BMI value of 25 or more means that a person is overweight; a BMI of 30 or more means that a person is obese.
The BMI of children and teens are measured using a different formula, because their BMI is age and gender specific. Older boys have different body fat percentages than younger ones. Boys have different amount of body fat compared to girls. The CDC has a more accurate BMI calculator specific for children and teens aged below 20.
The Causes of Obesity
Abundance of Inexpensive Foods
The occurrence of the obesity epidemic is due to several factors. One reason is the availability of many inexpensive food products. People nowadays are actually consuming 200 more calories each day compared to 50 years ago.
Technology and Sedentary Lifestyle
Another reason is the more sedentary lifestyle people have today because technology has taken care of many of life’s activities. For example, instead of walking, people drive. Instead of going to a colleague’s desk, people just send an e-mail.
Changes in the Environment
Weight gain is also because of the environment and its effects on people’s genes. The associate nutritionist at the University of California, Linda Bacon, PhD, says that the changing environmental conditions are making some people’s genes susceptible to weight gain. For example, the toxins that come from the environment can trigger a change in body hormones, that’s why some people eat more or store fat more.
The Effects of Obesity
The more obvious effect of obesity is the health risks that go with it – hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc. Aside from that, obese people find themselves facing economic and psychological issues. Many obese people suffer from depression and lack self-esteem. Worst of all, they are often treated with discrimination affecting their equal access to work opportunities.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index conducted a survey where the respondents were asked to assess their overall well-being based on their purpose, social relationships, community, finances and physical health. The results revealed that more obese Americans do not do well in these aspects compared to the non-obese.
Looking at the brighter side of things, it’s not yet too late for obese people to change things. To start with, make an appointment with a doctor to talk about options for losing weight. Then, look over your daily schedule and add into it an exercise regimen. Also, avoid watching too much TV or spending time on activities that are considered sedentary. Lastly, be smart with your food choices by eating the right portion size at each meal and including more fruits and vegetables everyday.
Photo credits: Full-Figured Man by Tony Alter via Flickr, CC By 2.0