Friday, February 20, 2009
•A: Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in our country. Two thirds of the American population are considered to be “too fat” or obese. There are numerous causes, but the main reason for our obesity epidemic is our embrace of a sedentary lifestyle combined with an increased intake of calories. These two factors combine to cause our body to store the excess calories we don't burn in the form of fat which leads to obesity. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of hypertension and heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and certain cancers.
Obesity is defined medically by two measurements. One of these is your waist size. A measurement at the level of the upper hip bone around the level of the navel is where waist circumference is measured. Men with a waist circumference of greater than 40 inches and women with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches are considered to be in the obese category. Another measurement used to define obesity is the body mass index (BMI.) This is a calculated value that takes in to consideration your height and weight. A BMI of greater than 30 is considered obese. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI between 18 and 24.9 is considered healthy. To calculate your BMI a calculator can be found on the internet at www.calorieking.com under the “Resources and Tools” tab.
The good news about obesity is with treatment one can reverse the increased risk of adverse health problems. The bad news is there is no quick fix for obesity. Reversing ingrained lifestyle choices is found to be difficult for most. Eating an appropriate amount of calories and exercising regularly continues to be the mainstay of therapy for someone who is considered obese. Although there are medical and surgical therapies that help reduce weight in the short term, long term success requires sticking to a diet in which your daily caloric intake equals the calories you use during the day. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important ingredients to living a longer and healthier life.
Johnny Weeks, MD
Shem Creek Family Medicine
966-A Houston Northcutt Blvd
Mount Pleasant, SC 2946
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