Definition of Problem: (and why weight maintenance is critical!)
- Obesity causes 60 medical disorders including 12 cancers. (Dr. Lee Kaplan)
- The economic cost of being obese is roughly $5000 per year for women and about $2500 per year for men. This includes lost productivity, sick days and other costs. (Dept. of Health Policy research report, 9/2010)
- Diabetes or pre-diabetes will strike half of all adult Americans by the end of the decade costing the nation almost $3.4 trillion. It is the number one cause of blindness, kidney disease and is often the cause of heart attacks and stroke. (The Columbus Dispatch 11/2010)
- 48-66% of obese individuals have some form of anxiety, substance abuse, or mood disorder (general population = 26-35%). (Dr. Patrick O’Neil)
- The number of overweight and obese kids has tripled in the last 50 years. 87% of obese adolescents become obese adults. Encouraging “dieting” and “weight teasing” are the biggest predictors of obesity and eating disorders among children.
The Benefits of Taking Good Care of Yourself
Healthy choices = mental acuity and quality of life. Dr. Roizen (Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic) reported that in a long-term study of Harvard physicians there was a 5% mental decline per decade in many of these physicians as they aged. Surprisingly, 25% of the Harvard doctors in this study showed very little mental decline with age! Why?
The 25% of the doctors who maintained mental acuity had healthier lifestyle choices (healthy food, daily activity, 15 minutes of meditation/reflection, not smoking, moderate alcohol intake, adequate rest and stress management).
Dr. Roizen proposes that “health is decided largely by genes prior to age 25 and then our choices largely determine health after 25 years of age!!” It is time to make some new choices each day!
Practical Steps to remain healthy by choice
- Some research suggests that 50% of cancers may be prevented with lifestyle changes and early detection.
- An 8 year study showed that 4 healthy lifestyle habits (never smoking, eating a “healthy” diet, getting at least ½ hour of exercise per day, and a BMI<30) decreased the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer by almost 80%.
- Losing weight and physical activity improve blood glucose. A New England Journal of Medicine (2/7/2002) study of pre-diabetics showed that ½ hour of exercise daily and a 5-10% body weight loss reduced diabetic risk by 58%. A commonly prescribed medication, metformin, reduced risk by only 38%.
- Are you moving more each day? Obese individuals who stood or walked around instead of sitting 3 hours per day expended about 400 extra calories per day (This translates to about a one pound weight loss per week). (Dr. Len Kravitz)
- Eating healthier can prove cheaper. “Foods available for $2 include beans, brown rice, potatoes, eggs and canned or frozen fruits and vegetables” (The Columbus Dispatch 12/26/2010)
- Healthy eating impacts blood pressure. The Harvard School of Public Health observed that men consuming the highest total of “whole” grains were 19% less likely to develop hypertension than those eating the least.
KBarrows, Ph.D. RDN 1/14