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Why is Fat the New Norm?

overweight menA report released jointly by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states, and adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year. The study, titled F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, reports that in 1980, only fifteen percent of Americans were classified as obese, but that percentage has more than doubled, with more than two-thirds of Americans officially classified as overweight or obese. Let’s look at these numbers for a minute. What does it mean to be “overweight or obese”?

By definition, overweight is having a BMI over 25, and obesity is having a BMI over 30. (If you are unsure of how to calculate yours, there’s a great BMI calculator here at DietsInReview.com.) Why are these numbers so alarming? Being overweight increases your chances of declining health. Even President Obama is catching on to this trend, as he said in a recent town hall address, “If we can help somebody control obesity, they are less likely to get diabetes…which will help keep health care costs down.”

Being overweight increases your chances of many obesity related diseases like heart disease, thyroid malfunction, stroke, diabetes, and the list goes on and on. And it’s really a downward spiral; being heavy means that it’s more difficult to exercise, which only increases your chances of gaining more weight, which makes it even MORE difficult to exercise, and bam! You have an entire set of complications staring you in the face.

If you lose some weight, those health complications can be more easily managed; but it’s not as easy as it sounds. It is MUCH more work to get out there and start walking than it is to sit on the couch and watch television. Trust me, I know. Do it for your family, do it for yourself, do it for whatever – but if you are overweight, even losing a few pounds will help you in the long run.

July 10th, 2009

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