Obesity affects about one-third of Americans. The epidemic includes the wealthy, middle class and the poor; city dwellers, suburbanites and those in rural areas; and people of all races and ethnicities. The causes include a diet of calorie-dense but nutrient-deficient food found in grocery and convenience stores, public planning strategies that favor motorists over walkers and cyclists, and simply bad habits.
The costs associated with obesity are enormous. Obesity adds an estimated $120 billion to the nation's medical bill annually. Each year 112,000 people die from obesity-related causes, and the condition is responsible for an increased risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Obesity - An Epidemic
It is difficult to grasp just how quickly this disease has turned into an epidemic. This trend will continue until together we make a commitment to change our behavioral patterns toward health and wellness.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body that is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality. Therefore, our focus on fat in the body should be directed at "fat in the body" and not a person's overall weight. Weight is only a measurement of an objects overall "weight". For the human body, we are comprised of physical elements that make up our weight. Understanding these is crucial to long-term health. Obesity is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body that is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality. Therefore, our focus on fat in the body should be directed at "fat in the body" and not a person's overall weight. Weight is only a measurement of an objects overall "weight". For the human body, we are comprised of physical elements that make up our weight. Understanding these is crucial to long-term health.
Body Mass Index or BMI has been a generally accepted ratio using a person’s height and weight to determine body weight status to a reasonable degree. BMI is an excellent indicator of obesity for the majority of the population. However, It does not take into account a person’s lean muscle mass, frame size and free fat and/or water weight.
Body Fat Percentage and Overall Body Composition is a much better measure and change indicator for a person. Recognized by professionals as a much more important indicator of overall health, it is important that we understand the components of measuring Body Composition: Body Fat and Lean Mass
Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our body composition, as well as our weight, determines leanness. Two people at the same height and same body weight may look completely different from each other because they have a different body composition. A person's total body fat percentage is the total weight of the person's fat divided by the person's weight. The resulting number reflects both essential fat and storage fat. Essential fat is the amount of fat you need to be healthy and for your body to function properly. Having less than this amount of fat can be dangerous to your health. Generally speaking, a female's essential fat is 10-12% and a male's is 2-4%
How can you decrease your Body Fat Percentage? You can decrease body fat by burning more calories than you consume, and by exercising regularly with a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Lean body mass is everything in your body except body fat - muscles, bones, organs, blood, etc. Your lean body mass is just the inverse of your body fat percentage, or in other words, everything but fat is lean body mass. By decreasing body fat and increasing lean body mass simultaneously, you improve the ratio, which is what you want to do, as long as you don't go below your essential body fat percentage. You can use the above Body Fat Percentage Comparison chart as a general guideline. How can you increase your Lean Body Mass? You can increase your lean body mass through resistance training, which increases strength and muscle mass. Additionally, cardiovascular exercise can improve your lean body mass in your lower extremities.
Obesity and Other Diseases
Overweight and obese people have increased incidence of multiple disease including the following. The costs to the health care system and the health of the individual are on a scale never seen before in the United States.
2. Heart Disease
4. Metabolic Syndrome
5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
6. Reproduction/Sexual Problems
7. Thyroid Conditions
8. Childhood Diabetes