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April 10, 2021  

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  • The Skinny on Overweight and Obesity

    The Skinny on Overweight and Obesity

    March 21, 2005

    By: Jean Johnson for Reflux1

    The news is that we’ve got a pretty big problem - literally. Anywhere you turn in the excess poundage circles these days, the news is grim. Pundits are saying we’re in the middle of an epidemic that started in the early 1990s and has done nothing but worsen.

    Now, 15 years later all the super-sized drinks and meals, not to mention our sedentary lifestyles, are taking their toll. More than half of all adult Americans are overweight while almost a quarter are obese. And the story with the kids is as distressing if not more.

    A body mass index (BMI) over 25 makes one overweight, while a BMI of 30 and above ratchets folks up into the obese category. For example, if a person is 5’5” and weighs 176 pounds, they slide in just under the door to obesity with a BMI of 29.3.

    Learn More
    Calculate your BMI

    To find your body mass index you need to convert your height and weight to metric measurements. Multiply your weight in pounds by .45 and your height in inches by .0254. Then multiply the figure you get for your height by itself. Once you have that, divide the height figure into the weight result and you’ll have your BMI.

    Overweight and obesity goes beyond the American borders and is a global epidemic that’s highest in developed countries. Modernization is to blame. The growth of industry and technology that led to ample food supplies and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle came into full sway half century ago after the Second World War. More and more cars hit the roads, modern appliances filled our homes and processed food high in fat, salt and sugar became increasingly available. From the first TV dinners that folks thought were such a treat back in the 1950s to 2005 when we think nothing of buying box after box of foodstuffs already sliced and diced and laced with the good, high calorie goop, we’ve become a nation that lets the marketers feed us.

    The consequences of overweight and obesity sweep across the gamut of medicine. Psychosocial problems are first on the list of David Satcher, M., Ph.D. and the 17th Surgeon General for the United States from 1998 through 2002. Satcher moves on, though, to include a range of cardiovascular breakdowns including high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, respiratory and gall bladder problems, cancers, osteoarthritis, and polycystic ovary disease among others. The gist is that when we overload our skeletons and our circulation system, and overtax our organs and our nervous system, there’s a price to be paid.

    Weight Loss Help
    Web sites to help you trim down

    smallstep.govThis site was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address the national epidemic of overweight and obesity. The American Obesity Association is devoted to education on overweight and obesity.

    No one wants to be heavy, but how to go about changing habits can be a sticky wicket. The American Obesity Association says that even though overweight and obesity have a “strong family component” people can help themselves by loosing even a modest amount of weight. “If maintained,” the AOA states, “even weight losses as small as 10 percent of body weight can improve one’s health.”

    The AOA folks go on to point a critical finger, however - and not at those who suffer. Overweight and obesity, they say, carry great stigmas and society is pervasively prejudiced toward those with the problem. Could that be, wonders the AOA, why even in the midst of an exploding situation, the National Institutes of Health still spends less that 1 percent of its budget on associated research each year?

    Last updated: 21-Mar-05


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