According to the CDC, and adult whose BMI is between 25 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight. An obese adult is defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher. Alarmingly, more than one-third of U.S. adults fall victim to this disease. This fraction accounts for roughly 78.6 million people placed at high risk for developing obesity-related conditions such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes; some of the leading causes of preventable death. The latest statistics reveal that healthcare costs alone related to obesity soar above billions of dollars; $147 billion in 2008 to be exact.
Other complications that are linked to obesity include metabolic syndrome, a condition where an individuals blood glucose levels, blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels are elevated; respiratory disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea; non-ETOH fatty liver disease; and depressive disorders, lack of self esteem, shame, and disability.
Although many factors, such as genetics, family, inactivity, poor food choices and eating habits, inadequate or poor quality sleep, medications, age, socioeconomic status, and multiple medical problems or co-morbidities contribute to the obesity epidemic, its pertinent to keep in mind that a combination of environmental factors are the ultimate culprits that lead to weight gain.
The good news is: there are several ways to prevent the development of weight gain and obesity, as well as improving health outcomes in the obese population by making a few simple lifestyle changes. While these changes may seem simple, it may not be easy for some to modify their behavior after several years of making poor choices that proved detrimental to their health. That is why it is imperative to have a support system while making these lifestyle changes to help keep individuals on track and uphold an accountability level to improve compliance. Lifestyle changes such as decreasing portion sizes at meal and snack time, choosing nutrient dense foods, adding more fiber to ones diet and recording daily food intake are all a great start to fighting obesity. Furthermore, increasing activity level in a safe and effective way under the guidance of a certified personal trainer after medical clearance is obtained is positive way to encourage accountability and improve behavior modification outcomes.
Its important to keep in mind that the key to positive outcomes includes consistent and regular exercise, increased knowledge pertaining to healthy food choices, allocating a support system, and avoiding stressful or known triggers in order to stay in control of eating behaviors have all proved to be successful traits when battling weight gain and embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Besides combating weight gain, consistent and purposeful exercise offers many other benefits to include: improved chances of living healthier longer; prevent heart disease, stroke, HTN, diabetes, and dyslipidemia; lowers risk of developing certain cancers; bone loss prevention; improved cognition, balance, and mood; improved metabolism function with increased lean body mass; improves quality of sleep; and improved lung and cardiovascular function.
Several evidence based research studies indicate a direct correlation of inactivity or sedentary lifestyle and an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease; one of the leading mortality associated diseases here in the US. Therefore, it is safe to say the sooner you start moving, the better chances you have of living a long healthy life with improved quality and outstanding health outcomes.