Obesity Is Rising in the USA
Americans are getting fatter, creating massive costs for the health-care system in general and Medicare in particular. Adult obesity rates increased in 23 U.S. states last year (2008) and did not fall in a single state, an annual survey released on July 1 2009 found. Adult obesity rates now exceed 25% in 31 states, up from 28 states last year and 19 the year before that.
The problem appears destined to continue worsening, too, the report indicates. Among children 10-17, about 30% are overweight or obese in 30 states. Study after study has found that overweight children are more likely to become obese as adults, and obese children are almost certain to remain that way.
In 49 States, 1 in 5 is Obese
Two-thirds of U.S. adults are now considered overweight or obese, as determined by their body-mass index, a measure of weight in relation to a person's height.
About 31%, or about 59 million people, are obese, which is defined as roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight.
Nearly four out of 10 adults in the USA will be obese within five years if people keep packing on pounds at the current rate - putting their health at risk, says one of the top obesity researchers.
The medical costs associated with treating these diseases will strain the health care system and economy in the years to come
Time to Tackle Obesity
All too often, obesity prompts a strenuous diet in the hopes of reaching the "ideal body weight." Some amount of weight loss may be accomplished, but the lost weight usually quickly returns. More than 95% of the people who lose weight regain the weight within five years. It is clear that a more effective, long-lasting treatment for obesity must be found.
The treatment of obesity cannot be a short-term "fix," but has to be an ongoing life-long process. Obesity treatment must acknowledge that even modest weight loss can be beneficial. For example, a modest weight loss of 5% to 10% of the initial weight, and long-term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health gains.
It is not necessary to achieve an "ideal weight" to derive health benefits from obesity treatment. Instead, the goal of treatment should be to reach and hold to a "healthier weight." The emphasis of treatment should be to commit to the process of life-long including eating more wisely and increasing physical activity. Please read our sections on Exercise and Diet/Nutrition.
The first goal of dieting is to stop further weight gain. The next goal is to establish realistic weight loss goals. While the ideal weight corresponds to a BMI of 20-25, this is difficult to achieve for many people. Thus success is higher when a goal is set to lose 10% to 15% of baseline weight as opposed to 20% to 30% or greater. It is also important to remember that any weight reduction in an obese person would result in health benefits.
One effective way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories. One pound is equal to 3500 calories. In other words, you have to burn 3500 more calories than you consume to lose one pound. Most adults need between 1200- 2800 calories/day, depending on body size and activity level to meet the body's energy needs.
If you skip that bowl of ice cream, then you will be one-seventh of the way to losing that pound! Losing one pound per week is a safe and reasonable way to target off extra pounds. The higher the initial weight of a person, the more quickly he/she will achieve weight loss. Metabolic rate tends to slow as we age, so the older a person is, the harder it is to lose weight.