How did we get the dubious title of “fattest” nation on earth? It seems as though our waistlines continue to grow and along with it a whole host of obesity health problems.
How did we get here? Well for starters we just don’t move as much as our ancestors did. They worked on farms, we sit at desks. They didn’t have a lot of “leisure” time, we veg out in front of the tv for hours on end.
Then kids played outside after school, now kids stay inside playing video games and snacking.
Schools used to encourage physical fitness daily, now kids are lucky if they have one hour a week for p.e. class.
So it’s not all that hard to figure out! Why should we be so concerned? Well, the trend just continues to climb. We’re becoming fatter and fatter and the health problems continue to take a major toll on our health care system.
According to studies done by the CDC* obesity levels went up by 37% between 1998 and 2006. The yearly burden on health care costs was predicted to be $147 billion for 2008.
If you’re obese your medical costs are estimated to be 42% higher than a normal weight person. This translates to about $1400 more per year. These costs make up more than 8% of Medicare costs, 11% of Medicaid costs and 12% of private insurance costs.
Aside from these astounding health care costs what are the actual physical obesity health problems?
- If you have excess stomach fat you stand a much greater risk of weight-related disease like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Obese people have a 50-100% greater risk of premature death than normal weight people.
- Heart disease and stroke are much more prevalent in overweight and obese people.
- More than 80% of diabetics are overweight or obese.
- Women who gain more than 20 lbs. between age 18 and midlife double their risk of getting breast cancer in their post-menopausal years.
- Obesity can increase the risk of liver and gallbladder disease.
And our children fare even worse. They’re much more likely to become obese adults when they become obese before age 8. And kids who have serious weight problems in the “tween” years are more likely to end up as obese adults.
Sadly, we’re seeing more and more child related diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. While some cases can be attributed to genetics, most causes are simply lifestyle habits they’ve “inherited” from watching the adults in their lives.
Need I go on? It’s downright depressing. Especially when you consider that even losing a few pounds can go a long way in improving your risk of illness and disease. Unfortunately we eat more and exercise less, a deadly combination.
Losing weight is hard, I know. But it’s critical that we start making changes for our children’s sake. Sacrifices have to be made, lifestyles have to change.
Find a sensible eating plan that fits with your lifestyle. Don’t go for “fad” diets that starve you or have you eating strange foods you just don’t like. You’ll never stick with a plan like that. There are a lot of good, easy to follow plans available.
Get the whole family involved. Find activities you can enjoy together. Spend time together. Not only will your health and your children’s health improve you’ll be setting up your kids for success and life long health.
I love my kids and I know you love your kids. You wouldn’t let your kids take part in dangerous activities if you thought they were going to be seriously injured. Allowing them to become overweight or obese is serious injury! Don’t doom yourself and your children to a life of obesity health problems when you can take charge now.