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Take back control of your weight ...
"The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer
in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat."
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AMERICANS ARE GETTING FATTER, FASTER
People in the U.S are becoming fatter at a faster rate than ever seen before.
the past year, the adult obesity rate rose nationally from 23.7% to 24.5%.
Almost a quarter of the American population over 18 is now obese, according to a
new study by the non-profit Trust for America's Health (1). In 10 states, the
obesity rate is higher than 25%, in spite of extensive campaigns to alert people
to the dangers of over-eating.
Mississippi had the highest obesity rate (29.5 of the adult population),
followed by Alabama (28.9) and West Virginia (27.6). Colorado had the lowest
rate with 16.4. Hawaii was not included in the survey.
Obesity is usually defined as being 20% or more above the average weight for
age, height and bone structure. In men, obesity means having 25% body fat, while
in women the figure is 30%.
The overall U.S. figures for excess weight are even worse. Approximately 119
million American adults, or 64.5% of the population, are currently thought to be
either overweight or obese. According to projections, 73% of adults in the U.S.
could be overweight or obese by 2008, the survey warned after analyzing data
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A root cause of obesity can be Insulin Resistance, which results in a reduction
in insulin receptor sites on cell walls. The lack of these sites means that
insulin cannot perform its normal role of allowing sufficient blood glucose to
pass through those walls to be used as energy. As a consequence, glucose and
insulin levels become unbalanced. Excess glucose in the blood stream ends up
being stored as fat, which can result in obesity and may also lead to the
cluster of Cardiovascular Diseases called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X.
In addition, unbalanced levels of insulin can result in Pre-Diabetes which, if
left unchecked, may lead to full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. High insulin levels can
also affect a woman's hormones, resulting in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS),
a leading cause of female infertility, as well as skin conditions, excess body
hair and male pattern baldness. PCOS sufferers are also at greater risk from
heart attacks and stroke.
The biggest rises in obesity were recorded in the south-eastern states. Oregon
was the only state not to see an increase between 2003 and 2004, maintaining a
steady adult obesity rate of 21%.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a national goal of
reducing adult obesity to 15% of the population by 2010. But The Trust for
America's Health believes this target will be missed.
"We have reached a state of policy paralysis in regards to obesity," said Trust
executive director Shelley Hearne.
"We need more and better data so we can make decisions to get out of the debate
limbo in which we are stuck. We have a crisis of poor nutrition and physical
inactivity in the U.S. and it's time we dealt with it."
The projected explosion in the number of obesity-related illnesses towards the
end of this decade could cost the nation billions of dollars in extra medical
costs, as well as causing a major deterioration in the quality of millions of
(1) F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, Trust for America's Health, 2005.
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