What You Should Know About Obesity

Obesity is a problem for adults and children across the U.S. Surveys indicate that 31.1% of the male population was considered obese in 2004, which increased to 33.3% in 2006. For women, 33.2% were obese in 2004, which increased to 35.3% in 2006. Additionally, 16.3% of the children (ages 2 to 19) in the survey needed to lose weight to reach a healthy BMI.

The concern about the obesity epidemic is not merely aesthetic. In fact, links between a number of health conditions and weight have been made. Hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are just a few conditions overweight people are susceptible to.

According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity and caloric intake are interlinked. "Weight management is all about balance -- balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses or burns off," the site says. For instance, if you eat the same number of calories your body is using each day, then your weight will remain stable.

For the average American, this amount is about 2,000 calories per day. If you eat more calories than your body can use ("in caloric excess"), these calories will store as fat, so if you're going far over 2,000 each day, you need to assess your diet nutrition habits. If you are eating fewer calories than you're using ("in caloric deficit"), your body will begin pulling from its fat cell storage for energy, so your weight will decrease. Most diets suggest between 1,200 - 1,500 calories daily to lose weight.

Genetics may play a role in one's ability or inability to lose weight, but researchers caution that this should not be used as a way of rationalizing the chance of putting on too many pounds, which is taking place in our population. "Despite obesity having strong genetic determinants, the genetic composition of the population does not change rapidly.

Therefore, the large increase in . . . [obesity] must reflect major changes in non-genetic factors," reports James O. Hill and Frederick L. Trowbridge. Genes are linked to excessive weight gain in people with Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome, but in general, any person is capable of adhering to a diet and weight loss regime.

In addition to the overt health consequences, there are also economic ramifications associated with obesity. In 1999, overweight and obese medical expenses accounted for 9.1% of all U.S. medical expenditures, reaching a total of $78.5 billion.

Half of these expenses were paid by Medicaid and Medicare. Today, the expenses are more than $95 billion, which are not only taking its toll with the cost of treatment and diagnostic services, but also in morbidity and mortality costs, with diminished productivity, absenteeism and lost wages.

A state like Mississippi paid out $757 million to service its overweight population's medical needs. With 19.7% of these people served by Medicare and Medicaid, state taxes will be run ragged.

by : Mike Selvon
Source : www.amazines.com

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