I heard on the television show 20/20 that one in three Americans are obese.  Even worse, it is believed that by the year 2030 that number will rise to 42%.  Wow – that is startling.

How have we arrived at this place?  Is it about the food we eat or the lives we lead?  Is it a byproduct of too much technology?  Are we too busy to eat right and exercise enough?  Are we living in a gleefully gluttonous society?  Are our genes changing – are we evolving into a new reality for our species?

The 20/20 special featured a segment on the K-E diet.  You may recognize this as the feeding tube diet.  It boasts the loss of 20 pounds in ten days at a cost of $1,500.

Here is a photo from ABC News of a woman who has a feeding tube inserted.  Yikes.  I couldn’t do it.  Truth be told, just looking at the feeding tube going up that woman’s nose makes me not want to eat. What I see when I see this woman is an example of how desperate some folks are to lose weight. For most folks it isn’t easy to lose weight.  Remember a third of Americans are obese – not simply overweight – obese.

Obesity is defined as weighing 20% or more over an individual’s ideal body weight.  I think most times when we hear that word we expect to see a person who weighs hundreds of pounds.  But even those who weigh much less than that can be classified as obese under the definition. To calculate you ideal body weight use this site.  As an example, if your ideal body weight is 120 and you weigh 144 you are considered obese.

Adding 25 pounds to a person my size is not the same as adding it to someone whose ideal weight is 195 pounds.  It is important to remember that obesity is defined from person to person and it doesn’t always look like the images of the morbidly obese folks we have seen on television shows.

Obesity is a dangerous condition.  It can increase the risk of the following conditions:

  • Coronary heart disease;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon);
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of   triglycerides);
  • Stroke;
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease;
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems;
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone  within a joint); and,
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility).

So feeding tubes aside, there is good reason to keep your weight within its ideal range.  It isn’t 2030 yet – there is still time to rewrite this story.  See the CDC’s website for lots of great tips on how you can reach and maintain a healthy weight.  Weigh-in on the side of your health and let’s drive those percentages down.

Day one thousand and forty of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C