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Understanding Obesity

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Back when I was much younger it seemed the reason behind obesity was quite obvious – people ate too much. Now days, it seems with the ever growing epidemic of obesity, many people either do not understand how it is caused, or have just accepted it as a normal part of life and do not even consider doing anything about it. As a result, our cost for health care and the burden placed on the system is growing daily too. By one estimate, the U.S. spent $190 billion on obesity-related health care expenses in 2005-double previous estimates. Just think, that was fifteen years ago. Obesity greatly increases our risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and some cancers, to name just a few. Yet few understand or do not care that their obesity can and will reduce their life span. Treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year, yet far too many do not care to do anything about it. Sadly, obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one in three Americans is obese. The prevalence of obesity in children has increased markedly as well. Can we continue to kick this can down the road?

What is obesity?

Depending on what you read, you might find a variety of definitions. In general, overweight and obesity indicate a weight greater than what is healthy. Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess amount of body fat. Of course we all need a certain amount of body fat for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions. But, this is not a license to believe there is anything healthy about being a body fat hoarder.

What are the health risks associated with obesity?

Forget all the vanity reasons why obesity is not desirable. The concern for obesity needs to go far beyond the cosmetic considerations, it is harmful to one’s health as it is a risk factor for many conditions. In the United States, roughly 112,000 deaths per year are directly related to obesity, and most of these deaths are in patients with a BMI over 30. Patients with a BMI over 40 have a reduced life expectancy. Just think, we have had the entire nation in a panic over the Covid-19 Corona virus because it may kill an equal number of people as obesity actually does each year. Yet no one blinks an eye when it comes to the many problem associated with being fat.It is perfectly acceptable for me to load a grocery cart with sugary sweet treats and unhealthy foods, so long as I am wearing a face mask while doing so…

Obesity increases the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, including the following:

9 Most common causes of obesity

The balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure determines a person’s weight. If a person eats more calories than he or she burns (metabolizes), the person gains weight (the body will store the excess energy as fat). If a person eats fewer calories than he or she metabolizes, he or she will lose weight. Therefore, the most common causes of obesity are overeating and physical inactivity. However, we do recognize that body weight can also be a result of genetics, metabolism, environment, and culture.

Childhood obesity.

A person’s weight during childhood, the teenage years, and early adulthood can and will influence the development of adult obesity. With each passing year we see more and more children with weight issues and the ailments associated with them. Therefore, decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity is one of the areas Brenda Sue and I try to focus on in the fight against obesity. For example,

While we obviously want to give our children and grandchildren the best lives we can, pampering them with poor nutritional choices and not encouraging them to be physically active only serves to hurt them in the long term while we make them only feel a little better in the very short term.

As a society and a culture, we must do better by our children.

Their future health depends on us to do them right, not what is comfortable in the moment..

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