Obesity & Diet
If you are overweight or obese, you are certainly not alone, in fact
you are in the majority.
In the United States, estimates as recent as 1999 show that 61 percent
of adults are overweight or obese and 13% of the children and
adolescents are overweight. And, obesity is becoming more prevalent
in countries around the world, even in those that have a very low
incidence of obesity like China.
Does it help to be in the majority?
If you are overweight, what
matters is not how many others have the same problem, but how your
body weight affects your personal health and well-being. Fighting
obesity is a personal challenge that is fought one pound at a time.
Overweight has been defined in the United States as a body mass index
of between 25 and 29.9. If an individual's body mass index is
30 or greater, they are considered obese. As an example:
If you are
5'2" tall and weigh 142 pounds, your body mass index is 26 and would
be considered overweight and at greater health risk. This applies to
both men and women in the same way because this measurement is
simply a comparison of weight for height.
An Old Condition
Obesity is not a new
condition. Anthropologists tell us that the problem is more
than 20,000 years old. Obesity has always existed in segments
of societies when abundant food supplies removed the threat of
starvation. But it has become a major public health problem in
this country, a state of affairs which worries the medical
In this area, the results of recent studies raise many questions.
While controversy exists and there are no definite answers,
scientists are investigating the following as the most likely causes
Metabolic changes which trigger a higher than normal level of
lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme which directs the fat cells to
store fat; or a faulty response to nerve impulses which
instructs the cells to break down their fat stores.
environment where food is increasingly plentiful and available.
Malfunction of "brown fat." While white fat cells store
calories, brown fat gives off calories as heat so that they are
not stored. Normal weight individuals may burn extra
calories as heat when they overheat while obese people may not.
This notion is only tentative.
high a "Set Point" The set point determines a certain biological
weight for each individual . It could be lowered through
exercise and a lower fat diet.
The Risks of Being Overweight
People in this country
tend to focus on the cosmetic and "esthetical " facets of "fatness."
Often overlooked are the health related risks of being overweight.
These are real and should be a strong incentive for people to lose
Can you be
Fat and Fit?
According to the U.S. Surgeon's Report on Overweight and Obesity,
obesity and overweight conditions are associated with increased risk
of serious diseases and even premature death. For example, even a
small amount of weight gain (11 to 18 pounds) increases a person's
risk of developing Type II diabetes. While one person may be obese
and have no serious health problems, the evidence shows that weight
gain (fat not the fit athletic muscle weight) is a serious health
level of obesity is a health risk factor, but a body weight of
20% or more above desirable weight constitutes a definite health
Obesity is associated with a reduced life expectancy.
General risk factors for heart disease such as high blood
pressure and high blood cholesterol are also associated with
weight gain of 10 to 20 pounds is associated with increased risk
of coronary heart disease in both men and women.
prevalence of diabetes is nearly 3 times higher in overweight
persons than in normal weight people.
overweight also is a risk factor for cancer of the breast, the
uterus, the colon, the rectum and the prostate.
Obesity increases stress on the body joints.
heightens the risk of surgery.
The Bright Side
The experts also agreed, that ALL the previous risk factors can be
improved by a reduction in weight. For example, some scientists have indicated that a
10% weight loss can
result in a 20% reduction in the risks for heart disease.
it can be very hard to lose and maintain a large weight loss, the
greatest health benefits seem to occur with the first 10 to 20
pounds of lost weight. This should be a great incentive for everyone
who thinks "it's not worth it!" You don't have to lose every extra
pound to gain the benefits of better health and improved energy
Consider getting started
If you seek professional help with weight control,
FREE Diet Profile & Sample
and then review the services Personal Dietitian can offer you.
If you have decided
that it's time to lose weight, and you have your own personal
reasons that make this important to you, then it's important to
choose a weight loss method that meets your needs - no program is
perfect for everyone! In evaluating diets and weight control
there are some basic recommended strategies:
reasonable initial weight loss goal is to lose about 10% of your
current body weight, if you are overweight.
reasonable amount of time to expect to lose 10% of your body
weight is about six months.
reasonable weekly goal for weight loss is about 1/2 to 2 pounds
FREE Diet Profile & Diet Sample