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The American Obesity Rate May be Higher Than we Thought

Could the obesity rate in America be higher than we think it is? If so, we could be in serious trouble when it comes to our nation’s health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese (35.7%). And approximately 12.5 million or 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese.

But how do we measure the obesity rate anyways? Through survey? Observance? Up to this point we’ve relied mainly on body mass index (BMI) – which is a ratio of height to weight – to measure if someone is overweight or not.

However, a new study shows that we may have to question the accuracy of the BMI measurement, especially among older females. Recent studies have shown that women tend to lose muscle mass faster as they age and may be getting inaccurate BMI readings as a result. In addition, 40% of adults today whose BMI categorizes them as overweight would actually be considered obese if their body fat percentage were also taken into account.

One solution the study proposes is lowering BMI standards, or raising them, depending on how you look at it. Currently a person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. But researchers suggest that number should be lowered to 24 for women and 28 for men, because they’re currently inaccurate.
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New Study Reconfirms Links Between Diet and Childhood Obesity

Reports from a study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain revealed two important correlations pertaining to childhood obesity: Children who eat meals at home prepared by their mother have a better nutritional outlook. And children with sedentary lifestyles are much likelier to have an unhealthy BMI.

Using standard measurement methods, researchers assessed the BMI of 718 children between the ages of 9 and 17 from various schools in Granada, and also determined the consumption frequency of specific foods and daily exercise habits. Their research showed that there is a noticeable relationship between sedentary leisure habits and high BMIs. And that it is “extremely important” for healthy habits to be promoted and encouraged within the family.

This only further confirms what experts have taught us all along: Daily exercise is crucial to overall health. Meals prepared at home are are likelier to be made with healthier, fresher ingredients and served in the proper portions. And it’s crucial that healthy habits be modeled in the home.

So how do we apply this research if we struggle in this area? Consider the following problem areas and tackle them head on.
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Short Exercise Lowers Blood Sugar

Good news for people who don’t naturally gravitate to doing exercise: less can sometimes mean more in the way of health benefits. A new study has found that just 30 minutes of weekly high-intensity exercise is enough to lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with type 2 diabetes.

“If people are pressed for time – and a lot of people say they don’t have enough time to exercise – our study shows that they can get away with a lower volume of exercise that includes short, intense bursts of activity,” said the study’s senior author, Martin Gibala, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

The current recommendations by the American Diabetes Association are in line with most fitness experts – people with diabetes should get a minimum of 150 minutes of at least moderate exercise each week or about 30 minutes most days of the week. Since people often complain of not having time, the researchers wanted to see if shorter more intense exercise would also do the trick of controlling blood sugar levels.
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Underweight People at Greatest Risk for Post-Surgery Death

When we talk about healthy eating and dieting, our focuses is almost entirely on people who are overweight. Obesity-related diseases account for just about 10 percent of medical costs in the United States, which comes to an estimated $147 billion each year.

That said, according to recently released research, people who are underweight are 40 percent more likely to die in the first month after surgery than those who are overweight.

The researchers believe that a patient’s body mass index (BMI) can be used as a predictor for risk in recovery time after surgery. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines those who have a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 as normal weight, so anything below that range fits in the underweight category.

Previous studies showed mixed results, but since the new study examined nearly 190,000 patients undergoing various surgical procedures at 183 hospitals, it’s expansive enough to be taken seriously.
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Childhood BMI Tracking May be Required in Michigan

When you’re the eighth fattest state, when over 800,000, or 12 percent, of your children are obese or overweight, and when 30 percent of your adults are obese, something has to change. That’s exactly why the state of Michigan could begin requiring to screen and report children’s BMI statistics in the near future.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tackles the state's growing obesity problem

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will announce his proposal on Wednesday, September 21. Synder has made plans to have doctors begin providing body weight data to a new state registry. This move is viewed as one of the most extensive government efforts to confront the overwhelming problem of pediatric obesity.

Similar to how immunization records are reported, children’s BMI stats will be reported to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, however their identity will be anonymous. These facts will allow the state to track the growing obesity problem.

Another benefit from this process is that the children will be in the private care of a doctor when these numbers are obtained. They will be with their parents and the doctor is available to offer more advice. Other states have attempted to track these issues at school and send the information home with very little advice or tools to handle the problem. Supporters of the proposal believe this is the best way to insure parents understand and receive help.

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