Obesity has become an epidemic in the US over the course of the last 10 years. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that 1/3rd of the adult US population is considered obese. By looking at the Obesity Trends map below one can see that the Obesity rate has increased significantly in the last 10 years. There are 4 main factors that have lead to this increase in obesity.
First, is our portion size. Studies have shown that our portion size has increased approximately 20% in the last 10 years. This means we are eating 20% more food or 20% more calories than we did in years past.
Second, the food choices today are filled with more calories than one would expect. We often go on a diet and decide to eat “healthy.” However, “healthy” does not clearly mean that the item is also lower in calories. Especially if you eat at a restaurant, fast food or consume pre-packaged meals. Although a particular item may be labeled “healthy,” “low fat,” “low carb” etc…, it is the total amount of calories you consume that is the most important in a weight loss diet.
Third, we are, in general, less active than we were in the past. Exercise is important for several reasons. It increases the circulation, increases muscle mass and increases the metabolism. It can also reduce the risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and other medical conditions. From walking, jogging, riding a bike or playing a sport, pick an activity that you enjoy and can take a part in for many years.
The fourth reason some people have a harder time with weight is genetics. Your genetics affects the way your body stores and burns fat. It is the reason some people never seem to gain weight while others have a difficult time losing weight. Although, we can not change our genetic make up, we can achieve our goals by working on items 1-3 above. Decreasing portion size, selecting lower calorie foods and increasing activity
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Basal Metabolic Index (BMI)
If you’ve noticed that every year, it becomes harder to eat whatever you want and stay slim, you’ve also learned that your BMR decreases as you age. Likewise, depriving yourself of food in hopes of losing weight also decreases your BMR, a foil to your intentions. However, a regular routine of cardiovascular exercise can increase your BMR, improving your health and fitness when your body’s ability to burn energy gradually slows down.
BMI or (Body Mass Index) is a measurement that compares height and weight to determine the body fat of an individual. Using a BMI percentage is a very accurate way to determine whether your weight is in a healthy range or if your weight puts you at high risk for certain types of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. You can determine your BMI by using a BMI calculaton. This calculator will provide an assessment to see if you are underweight, healthy, overweight or obese and help to set your weight loss goals.
By Mayo Clinic staff Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Doctors often use a formula based on your height and weight — called the body mass index (BMI) — to determine if you are obese.
|18.5 — 24.9||Normal|
|25.0 — 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 and higher||Obese|
|40.0 and higher||Extreme obesity|
Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity.
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