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More than 80% of Firefighters in the U.S. Are Overweight or Obese, But What’s Being Done?

obesity-in-firefighters-2014

A new study out of the CDC finds that 82.5% of firefighters in the U.S. are overweight or obese, a figure alarmingly higher than the rest of the general population, which hovers around 67%. The study found that, of 1,002 firefighters who participated, 854 had a BMI over 25%. A BMI under 25% is considered to be “normal.”

The main purpose of the Centers for Disease Control’s study was to determine whether firefighters were receiving recommendations from their health care providers regarding their weight and whether they needed to gain weight, lose weight, or simply maintain their current weight. The study found that 69% of them, despite having visited their physician in the last 12 months, received no recommendations or advice.

This is especially problematic, considering that data from earlier this year by Johns Hopkins University found that cardiovascular problems are the leading cause of death (45%) for active duty firefighters. They attribute that staggering statistic to the high stress factor of the job and poor lifestyle habits surrounding it.

What can be done to reduce obesity in our first responders?
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Survey Says: Most of Us are Wrong About Our Weight

Honesty is always the best policy, but when it comes to our weight, many of us may fudge the facts a bit. A new survey indicates that less than 40 percent of Americans report being overweight, though research shows the actual statistic is much higher.

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We first heard of this news from our friends at Shape Magazine, and then checked out the survey results ourselves. Not only do just 36 percent of Americans see themselves as overweight, of those people, less than 20 percent are actively trying to lose weight.


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Weight Discrimination – Real, and Wrong

Should body weight be considered a protected class under Civil Rights laws? According to 3 out of 4 people asked in a new study, the answer is yes.

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New research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shows most Americans support policies addressing weight discrimination. In fact, at least 60 percent of Americans are supportive of policy efforts to address weight discrimination across the country.

According to Rebecca Puhl, PhD, study author and deputy director of the Rudd Center, “More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are affected by overweight or obesity, meaning they are also vulnerable to the stigma and discrimination that these proposed policies and laws would help prevent.”


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In Yoga XXL, Yoga is a Practice Open to Every Body

Yoga XXL IngridIn her new book, Yoga XXL: A Journey to Health for Bigger People, author Ingrid Kollak asserts “Yoga is for everybody.” In this thoughtful illustrated guide for beginners and beyond, Ingrid, a registered nurse and yoga teacher, focuses on the benefits of yoga for the mind and body, regardless of the body’s size.

At the DietsInReview compound, we’re routinely bombarded with books and DVDs about weight loss and exercise. Many titles in our library contain the same healthy buzz words over and over including, “Diet this” and “Walk off that,” so we were intrigued when “Yoga XXL” arrived in the mail.

The in-your-face title not only got our attention, it left us a bit stunned. Was it politically correct? Was it unkind? After interviewing the German-born author, I’m convinced that regardless of the title, her motivation was completely sincere.

Before she became a teacher, Ingrid remembers attending yoga classes where students with larger bodies were treated with either indifference or outright cruelty. “In classes I saw yoga teachers who plagued their students physically and mentally,” she recalls. “Many yoga teachers had an outdated view that all yoga students should look a certain way: lean and limber. I noticed that these teachers did not encourage or help students who did not fit that strict model.”


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Fat For Life: Overweight People Live Longer Suggests a New Study

The validity of the BMI measurement tool has long been a point of contention among health professionals and consumers alike. A new report will not only cast further doubt, but actually go one step further: overweight people may live longer than their “normal” weight counterparts.

Overweight BMI

According to the report involving nearly three million people from nearly 100 studies, those who were overweight had a lower risk of death than people who were normal weight, defined as a BMI range of 18.5 – 25.

“Fat per se is not as bad as we thought,” said Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, professor of medicine and public health at the University of California, Irvine, in a story at New York Times.

While that may sound controversial, the fact of the matter is that health is often so much more complex than we’d like. Weight is but one factor in our health. You may be heavy with normal blood pressure, or thin with dangerously high cholesterol or blood sugar levels.
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