Saturday, March 31, 2007

Obesity: A problem Increasing



No one should be surprised by the large percentage of Americansover weight these days. With faster than ever growing food chainsand the way our money and appetites respond to walking pastendless, mouthwatering posters in restaurant windows, there's nowonder why diet has become the talk of the century. As many havelearned, accomplishing "weight loss" as not nearly as easy asit is to say it.

The facts are that 7.1% of children and adolescents 2-19 years ofage are overweight. That is over 12 and a half million children.Of the adult population, 32.2% which is over 66 million areobese; and almost 5% are extremely obese. Significant differencesin obesity between race and ethnic groups have also beenobserved. Mexican-American and Afro-American girls were found tobe more overweight than non-Hispanic white girls. Where boys areconcerned, the prevalence of overweight was considerably higheramong Mexican-Americans than among both non-Hispanic black andNon-Hispanic white boys. Approximately 30% of non-Hispanic whiteadults, 45% of non-Hispanic Afro-American adults, and 36.8% ofMexican-American adults were found to be obese.

A significant difference in age seemed to play a huge part aswell. Younger children are less likely to be overweight thanadolescents, and older adults are more likely to be obese thanyounger adults. The weights of adults 80 and over tend to fallinto the same category of adults 20-39 years of age.

Overweight issues are the result of an imbalance between theamount of food consumed and the amount of physical activity aperson gets. Factors that are considered linked to obesityinclude increased potion sizes, eating out often, largeconsumptions of sugar-sweetened drinks, excessive television,computer and video gaming, a change in careers, stress, and fearof crime; which lessens outdoor activity. Overweight adolescentsusually grow up to become obese adults. People gain weight whenthe body takes in more calories than it burns off. The extracalories are stored as fat. People who are obese are more thanjust a few pounds overweight, which means that their calorieintake has been more than I should have been for years.

A person's gene can play an important role in being obese, forexample, some people burn calories faster or slower than others.It is odd how obesity works in families; members of a family caneat the same foods, share the same bad habits and have a similarmind frame when it comes to weight gain; however, only a few mayhave weight problems. In most cases, weight problems come from acombination of habits and genetic factors. Obesity can seriouslyaffect a person's health in more ways than a little bit. Ofcourse it can make a person feel tired and uncomfortable, as wellas wear down joints and put extra strain on other parts of thebody; but there are more serious consequences that come fromcarrying extra weight.

Obesity in young children can cause illnesses that usually affectthe adult population, such as high blood pressure, highcholesterol, liver disease, and type2 diabetes. As they getolder, they are subjected to even more problems such as the heartdisease, congestive heart failure, bladder problems, strokes,breast or colon cancer, reproductive problems in women, and evendeath.

In addition to these things, small tasks such as walking, keepingup, playing sports, and even breathing can become extremelydifficult. Depression is also very likely among people who areover weight. They may often feel sad or angry and many people eatto make themselves feel better, only to feel worse about eatingagain.

There is some good news, however; it is never too late for aperson to make changes in their eating and exercising habits.Powerful health benefits can come from exercising as little as 30minutes a day, everyday and paying close attention to what we putinto our bodies. Staying away from sugary soft drinks such assodas, and juice, and eating more fruits and vegetables can helpsignificantly. Also, keeping a food diary and developing a betterunderstanding of the nutritional value and fat contents of food,changing grocery shopping habits, timing meals, running, andwalking is proven to do wonders for the body. Pills, and programsthat promise instant weight loss or feature severely restricteddiets are usually not effective and can be very dangerous.

A recent study has found that a key ingredient in over thecounter diet pills can increase the risk of stroke in women. Dietpills are not a permanent solution to losing weight; in fact,studies prove that almost all consumers regain that were shed.Many people are initially discouraged during weight loss,especially if they have put on excessive weight during the years;but the sooner the change is started, the closer a person willget to living a happier, healthier life.

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