Understanding Obesity and the Aftermath
One in six children in the U.S. are obese and Texas has the 10th highest population of obese residents. According to the National Institute of Health more than two thirds of American Adults are currently considered to be obese or overweight.
Obesity isn’t always the result of just poor food choices and lack of exercise alone. For some individuals obesity is the result of an underlying health issues such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome. Genetics, medication, and psychological factors are also common causes of obesity.
Advertising and screen time are extraneous factors that promote obesity. People these days spend a lot of time in front of screens, on the computer, tablets, watching TV, and on their phones. This takes away time for physical activities and exposes us to advertisements of unhealthy foods that are high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar content. Almost half of all U.S. middle schools and high schools advertise less than healthy food choices in their cafeterias and vending machines. Companies that produce sweets and unhealthy treats primarily market their products towards children and adolescents.
Unfortunately limited access to affordable healthy foods is also a cause of obesity. In rural and low income neighborhoods it can be hard for people to choose healthy foods. There is an abundance of unhealthy foods available for a low price that are ready to eat or can be cooked instantly in a microwave. Healthier foods are often more expensive and advertising is next to none in comparison.
The way in which obesity is determined varies slightly for adults and children. For adults the body mass index (BMI) is used to calculate the amount of fat in the body. Children grow at their own pace so their BMI is charted on a growth curve and measured as a percentile.
BMI of Adults 20 Years of Age or Older
Normal Weight 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight 25 – 29.9
Obese 30 – 39.9
Morbidly Obese 40 +
BMI of Children and Youth 2 to 19 Years of Age
Obese 95% or more
– Reducing stress
– Limiting TV/ screen time
– Limiting your time sitting/ not moving around
– Spend time outdoors
Small Changes Can Help
The good news is that you can take steps to lose weight. And losing even some weight can make a big difference to your health and how you feel. You may not have to lose as much as you might think in order to start seeing health benefits.
As a start, aim to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Adults who are overweight or obese should try to lose 5% to 10% of their current weight over 6 months, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
If you’re ready to get started with a weight loss program, ask your doctor to help you set personal goals and refer you to other professionals who can give you tips and help you reach your goals. For example, a nutritionist can help you with a food plan, and a physical therapist or trainer can help you move more.
Jennie Khonsari – 214-770-6872 – Texas CPR Training – www.texascpr.com