Obesity, What's The 'Big' Deal
Nowadays, so much of the public is obese (fat) that it is the “norm”. So much so, that we are starting to ignore this epidemic.
Thankfully, the Surgeon General has issued a warning about the plague of obesity that has been considered to be as significant or moreso than the warning issued about the hazards of cigarette smoke.
As long as you are carrying extra weight (beyond the acceptable upper limits of body fat), you increase your risks for a variety of health complaints.
These complaints and risks include conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and more.
Definition of Obesity and Overweight
Obesity has been defined as an abnormal accumulation of body fat in proportion to body size. Overweight persons, although still technically obese, will have a body-fat proportion that is intermediate between normal and obese. (1)
Some Common Excuses for Being Obese
This section will probably ruffle the feathers of some people who read it. It is not meant to be demeaning or belittling. Rather it is meant to shed light on some of the “unhealthy” thought patterns that contribute to obesity, its consequences, and other conditions.
A lot of people will say to themselves and others something like “Yeah, I’m a bit overweight but I feel okay about it” or “Maybe I’m carrying a few extra pounds, but so is everyone else” or even “I might be fat, but I can lose it anytime I want”. Other things that you might hear someone else say are things like “Jeez, you look pretty good …” “for someone who just had a baby” or … “for someone who has had three kids” (my wife absolutely hates hearing those ‘compliments’) or … “for someone who hasn’t played hockey in ten years.”
Then of course there are the “medical” excuses. “I’ve got metabolic syndrome”, “ever since my surgery, I’ve had no energy”, “my knees hurt”, “I have arthritis”, “It’s hereditary”, “I’ve got asthma” …
All of the above probably have a seed of truth in them for many people. However, more often than not, these excuses are a way to avoid doing something that you don’t want to do, such as getting more exercise, or controlling your eating habits.
Why does this occur? Because we are in D.E.N.I.A.L. (an addictions counselor/mental health worker told me that it stood for Don’t Even (k)no(w) I Am Lying).
Today’s life is, no doubt, incredibly hectic and seems to be getting moreso every passing year. Gone are the days when most people in our society must do heavy physical labour every day just to survive. Automation has created many labour saving devices. This in turn has created a largely sedentary, inactive society.
Look at the kids today. Instead of being outside playing shinny or a game of pick-up basketball, or any of thousands of other outdoor activities, they are inside playing video games or getting mesmerized by the T.V.
Patricia Markham Risica (2) writes that …
The number of people affected by obesity continues to rise along with the prevalence of comorbid diseases that result from this condition. What could be considered the modern-day plague, caused by higher consumption and less expenditure of energy, has been broken down into its economic components by Eric Finkelstein.[1,2] The likely economic culprits for the marked increases observed in the 1980s and '90s include the increased availability of higher-calorie-dense foods, increased portion sizes, and lower overall costs of food along with increased exposure to television advertising of the same products. These trends are coupled with the earlier trends from the '60s and '70s of lower energy expenditure at work, more women in the workforce, and not making family meals at home. The increased prevalence of obesity carries a parallel increased demand for economic resources; 5% to 7% of total medical expenditures are already being devoted to this very costly condition.[1,3,4]
And she further writes that …
Obesity and overweight (the term preferred by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other organizations when referring to children and adolescents due to the potential negative connotations associated with "obesity") represent a challenge of vast dimensions to the public health community, with causes of the epidemic permeating American society. Americans are surrounded by facilitators of an eat-more/expend-less society -- from the individual and family; to the food producers, processors, sellers, and advertisers; to the city planners of our neighborhoods; to the business organizations that demand our time during the day and the media that entertain us in the evening. Clinicians generally are not equipped to control this epidemic that greets them every day. Behavioral change counseling is not in their repertoire and effective treatments are not readily available; in fact, even when they are available, such programs are usually not reimbursed by third-party payers.
In today’s society, the cost of eating in a healthy fashion is more often than not, much more expensive than eating all of the garbage that is available. Additionally, in virtually all processed foods, there is some sort of additive which will increase hunger and cravings. (reminds me of a line from “So I Married An Axe Murderer” with Mike Myers were his father was discussing “the Colonel” and how he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken to “make you crave it fortnightly!”) Nowadays the home vegetable garden plot is fast disappearing which again will limit the availability of wholesome produce at a lower cost.
Look at artificial sweeteners. They have the ability to artificially increase your hunger. Not only that, but when they break down in your body, some very harmful chemicals can appear. One particular artificial sweetener is in over 2000 products! Think of the impact on society. Try finding chewing gum without it.
All of the above can contribute in some small or even in some large way to increase the increasingly present burden of obesity.
Until next time…
Yours in Health,
Dr. M. Montgomery @ www.healthyunderstanding.com
1. Obesity. Jonathan Q. Purnell, M.D., Medscape.com
2. Prevention of Overweight and Obesity: Focus on Children and Adolescents. Patricia Markham Risica, Dr.PH, RD, Medscape.com
Disclaimer: As always, check with your health care provider to see if this information applies to you. Due diligence is your responsibility. This information is meant to supplement your knowledge, not to replace your own decision making process or take the place of your health care provider.
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This article has been provided by Dr. M. Montgomery at www.healthyunderstanding.com. Dr. Montgomery is a practicing Chiropractor in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
This article was posted on April 10, 2005
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