Large and Heavy

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Who strains in this picture? Is it it sitter or the chair? An obese person (body mass index BMI=or>30,) carries extra weight which is as heavy as a bar-bell on one’s shoulder. Loaded and bulky, the chair seems to strain as it supports the huge sitter waiting for a plane ride in Hearthrow Airport in London on September 12, 2008 (Reuters/TobyMelville.)

Obesity & the Fight Against the Bulge

As much as sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans are fat and the number is rising. In 2000, it has been estimated that the cost of obesity in the United States is about $117 billion. It is said that if the trend isn’t reversed, the gains of the past generation from improvements of medical care can be wiped out by the illnesses that go with excessive weight.

Obesity increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions like:
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
• Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
• Type 2 diabetes
• Coronary heart disease
• Stroke
• Gallbladder disease
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

That’s why like smoking, there are attempts to fight the bulge by altering the public mindset and behavior. Aside from education, diet and exercise, the people are warned of obesity’s long-term effects. Linked with hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, psychological disturbances and their multi-organ complications, obesity is causing a drain in health care as much as it spawns chronic morbidities which worsen as the person gets old.

There are initiatives to curb on excessive weight gain. Food values are required in processed food packets. A move to lessen food servings is offered in restaurants. Vegan diet is made available and recommended. In poor neighborhoods such as the one in South, Los Angeles, CA a moratorium to open new fast foods was made into legislation on July 2008.

Employers and medical insurance companies give health education lectures to their workers and subscribers. They give incentives to promote exercise and preventive consults with their doctors. The burden of obesity control rests largely on the discipline of individuals, but the environment on which the health problem thrives need some reprogramming. (Photo Credit: Lil’Miss) =0=

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