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Supersizing of America

The nation's scales are rising, and it is clear that obesity is at crisis levels! So what can we do about the US's weight epidemic other than steer clear of the doughnut shop, fast food establishments, and exercise each day?

There is variation between obesity and overweight many of us are on the edges of each. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), overweight is a rise in body weight that is a minimum of 10 percent above a recommended weight level.

These recommendations are derived from a sampling of the American population or by body mass index (BMI), a calculation that determines weight comparative to height. If we could all increase in height by approximately 4 inches, weight would not be much of an issue! If not, a person with a BMI higher than 25 is overweight. Obesity is excess fat compared to lean body mass, or a body weight that is 30 % over the ideal weight for a specified height.

Obesity is gauged with one of two yardsticks and the bathroom scale isn't included!

A typical woman in the US is 5'4" and if she weighs 152 pounds, her BMI is 26.1 - yes, she is overweight. A healthy weight for a woman of average height would be roughly 134 pounds.

Get your tape measure and calculate waist circumference. When we go shopping for slacks and need to go up in size, we realize that our waist circumference is at risk. But, waist circumference is also a way to assess abdominal fat - a forecastor of health risk factors, and that is serious. If you are a woman with a 35+ inch waist, you are overweight and at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Welcome to the alliance!

Origins of obesity

It is apparent that obesity is triggered by eating a diet high in fat and calories, being sedentary, or a combination of both. There can be other factors, including genetics, hormones, behavior, environment, and culture. And, obesity is not limited to grown-ups. Approximately 25 to 30 % of adult obesity cases began with childhood obesity. You have heard the story, "I was overweight when I was younger, and this is something that has continued into adulthood."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labels the obesity problem an "plague" .

Within the US, 64.5 % of people are either overweight or obese, with the number going up.

Childhood obesity has attained epidemic volumes. Our sodas and fries are not the only thing being SuperSized today our children are also! Food is all over the place and it is not going away.

We exist in a fat economy, and that is good for video games, flat screen TVs, prepared goods, the take-out industry, the fast-food and restaurant industries, and the snack bar at the nearby movie theatre.

Our kids aren't very physical and the same can be said for us! It is so effortless to park close, walk little, and eat while we are in the mall. We are on the move with carpools, conflicting schedules, and multitasking parents, colleagues, and volunteers. It is so much less hassle to quickly make something unhealthy, than to start from "scratch" to make a wholesome meal, especially when getting the family to the table at the same time each day is hard.

So, what is a family to do?

Take soft drinks out of your diet and replace with water. Water is crucial to balanced nutrition and transports food particles. Our blood is 90% water and blood requires water to stay fluid so it can create nutrients.

Drink half of your body weight in water daily to increase weight loss.

Eat healthy, and clean out your fridge and cupboards to get rid of unhealthy nibbles and foods!

Eat uncooked foods with no added sugar, salt and additives and don't eat when you are feeling down. To do so changes the chemical components of food and causes hyperacidity in your stomach. That could clarify why there is such a high incidence of gastric reflux disease in our country.

Finally, start a regular exercise program for 30 mins a day. Exercise raises heart rate, reduces blood pressure, helps muscle tone, and slows down aging.

The other options

The most important thing someone can do to fight obesity is to avoid it before it starts. It is never too late though, and for people who need obesity management, there are many options available. Weight loss and weight management efforts require a balanced mixture of behavioral change and medical intervention. While consuming less and exercising more are essential, some seek options such as surgical interventions or prescription medicine. In any case, medical oversight is needed in choosing the right option for you.

Make this year count

We make that New Year's resolution each and every year. You probably did that on January 1st, and it might have been, "This is the year that I'll drop that extra 10 lbs." How frequently have you made that one? Maybe instead, you gain an extra 10 pounds putting you up by 20! This could be the start of the rest of your life! You can manage the Supersizing of America in your own home and with your own family!


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