Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.
Obesity: A National Problem
Despite all these diet trends and celebrity workout routines, obesity continues to rise around the world and especially in the United States. In the United States, according to The State of Obesity’s annual report, 32 percent of adults are obese and 66 percent of adults are overweight.
It doesn’t end there. The obesity epidemic has reached children and teens as well. The number of obese children and teens in the United States is at an all-time high, making it a serious issue.
As our lifestyle continues to modernize, we find ourselves riding instead of walking and playing mobile games instead of sweating it out in the field. The lack of movement culminates in serious health issues.
Today, being overweight or obese is a major health concern. The rise of obesity has driven health officials to start calling it an ‘epidemic’ as it has given rise to numerous other health issues.
Over the past few years, we have tried several solutions to battle obesity. One popular method was trying fad diets named after places, food, and people. You might have heard about these fad diets like the Cabbage Soup Diet, Sleeping Beauty Diet, Tapeworm Diet, Five Bite Diet, Werewolf Diet, and many more. But they haven’t been helpful in providing a healthy approach to battle obesity.
Obesity: Why does it happen?
Your genes play the most important part but there are other factors involved too. One of them is being hooked to highly processed food and drinks that are high in sugar and salt. Unfortunately, even if we cut down on these food items, we still end up eating more calories than we can burn because of our sedentary lifestyle.
Obesity and being overweight unleashes a whole cascade of health problems from diabetes, heart problems to stroke, and sometimes cancer. These diseases are the reason for the rise in untimely deaths.
Obesity: Is it different from being overweight?
Overweight and obesity are terms that are used to highlight unhealthy weight gain in the body. One of the ways to identify if you are obese or overweight is by using the Body Mass Index (BMI). So, what does the BMI reading indicate?
- BMI 25 to 29.9: You are overweight
- BMI 30 or higher: You are obese
When it comes to children and teens, the indicators and the measurement criteria are different. They have labels such as ‘overweight’ or ‘at risk of overweight’. Also, the healthcare specialist will take into consideration the body fat difference between girls and boys and the changes in body fat levels at different ages.
Controlling Obesity in Adults
To live a healthy and long life, it is important to control your weight instead of opting for fad diets.
Here are some basic changes that you can make to avoid becoming overweight or obese:
- Incorporate healthy eating habits, eat more fruits (low in sugar), nuts, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly, start moderately for at least 30 minutes in a day.
- Avoid consuming food that is high in fat and sugar.
- Switch to vegetable-based oils instead of animal-based fats.
- Understand portion control and weigh your food. For instance, a three-ounce meat serving is the size of a deck of cards. Avoid eating super-sized menu items especially at fast food restaurants.
- Maintain a food book and log your food consumption every day to understand your calorie intake.
Preventing Obesity in Children and Teens
Children and teens become obese or overweight when they don’t participate in enough physical activities and have poor eating habits. Lifestyle and genetics also contribute to their weight.
- Work towards changing the family eating habits and implement new activities instead of focusing on weight.
- Become a role model. Parents who eat healthy and exercise regularly set a good example for their kids, which increases the likelihood of children adopting the same habits.
- Encourage physical activity in your children.
- Encourage your children to eat only when they are hungry.
- Avoid withholding food as a punishment or using it as a reward.
- Keep your refrigerator stocked with healthy food. Ditch food and drinks that are high in sugar and fat.
- Encourage your kids to have more fruits and vegetables.
So, walk a little more, eat a little healthier, and include fun physical activities in your routine to battle obesity. By focusing on preventing obesity, we can prevent many chronic diseases.
Written by: LabFinder Team / Approved by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.