Obesity in the United States has significantly risen in the past 20 years. Over 60 million adults and 9 million children are obese! If you are overweight, this is extremely dangerous for your health. You need to get to a normal weight.
Obesity is caused by an energy imbalance which results from consuming too many calories and not getting enough exercise. Behavior and the environment are the biggest causes of people being overweight today. However, this can be prevented and changed.
Being overweight increases your risk for many health conditions and diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and even some cancers.
There are several ways that doctors use to decide if a patient is obese. The most common way is to use the BMI (body mass index). The BMI takes into account a patient’s weight and height and comes up with their body mass. For most people, this is an accurate way to get the amount of body fat in your body. Other ways to estimate body fat include measuring skin fold thickness, waist circumference, ultrasounds, waist to hip circumference ratios, MRI and computed tomography.
Obesity in the United States just seems to be getting worse and worse. In 1991, only four states had obesity rates of 15 to 19% and no states had obesity rates above 20%. In 2004, this had dramatically changed. Seven states had obesity rates of 15 to 19%, 33 states had obesity rates of 20 to 24% and 9 states had obesity rates that were more than 25%.
There are many reasons why obesity is so prevalent today which include behavioral reasons, environmental reasons and genetic reasons. In the past 20 years, the environment and people’s behavior has drastically changed, causing this jump in obesity. Fast food restaurants, soft drinks and pre-packaged foods are much more readily available than they were 20 years ago. Grocery stores also have more foods than before.
People are eating much more than they used to. Everyone is taking larger portions and eating more snacks. There are so many unhealthy snacks being sold and everyone buys them. This is very unhealthy because people are consuming so many calories and not burning them off.
Something everyone can do to prevent becoming obese or to lose weight if you are already obese is physical activities. You need to do activities that use energy so you can burn off calories. Some physical activities include washing floors, washing windows, gardening, yard work, farming, waiting tables, construction work, carpentry, walking, biking, swimming, skating, dancing, sports, aerobics and anything else that involves movement. Physical activity is good for your health; it not only controls your weight, buy it also decreases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.
Most Americans no longer do physical activities, which is a big problem. Technology has eliminated the need to do physical activities. Cars are used instead of walking or riding a bike. Elevators, dishwashers, computers and televisions also are causes for our inactivity. People need to get up and move around. Anything that involves movement will use energy and burn calories.
This rise in obesity is a big concern for us. We need to make sure that we are doing all we can to maintain a healthy weight. Everyone needs to try to eat healthier and do physical activities. If you do not get to a normal weight, it is an enormous health risk for you.