Americans are setting a record that is a major cause for concern: Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that the obesity rate in adults in the U.S. has risen to an all-time high of 30.4 percent. Equally alarming are the studies that show that upwards of 18 percent of children and 21 percent of teens in the U.S. are obese. That is almost triple the number of adolescents and children affected in 1980.
So what exactly is fueling this epidemic? What measures are effective in “battling the bulge” in our community, and what hurdles stand in the way of progress? Is there any cause for optimism? Those are some of the questions that a renowned obesity expert – William H. Dietz, MD, PhD – will address in a presentation on Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. on the Russell Sage College campus. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is best determined by calculating body mass index (BMI), which is a measure based on the relationship between height and weight that is used to estimate your percentage of body fat. Adults with a BMI greater than 30 are considered to be obese; in children, the threshold is a BMI (adjusted for age) at or above the 95th percentile for kids of the same age and sex.
What Causes Obesity?
Obesity is a complex condition that can result from a number of causes. Among the factors that can contribute to its development are:
Unhealthy dietary patterns (e.g., reliance on low-cost processed or high-caloric convenience foods)
Environmental conditions (e.g., a lack of safe green space for recreation; limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables
Genetics and family history/culture
Lack of sleep
Some medications, such as antidepressants and steroids
Certain diseases, such as Cushing’s disease or low thyroid levels
Aggressive food marketing practices
What Are the Health Consequences of Obesity?
One of the reasons that the obesity epidemic is such a concern is its association with other serious health risks and disease conditions, including, but not limited to, the following:
The good news is that losing even 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can help reduce your risk of developing these conditions.
What Has Been Done to Combat the Obesity Epidemic?
No one strategy has been found to be effective in stemming the obesity epidemic. However, some progress has been made recently, as evidenced by the following:
Join Us! If you’re interested in learning more about the latest strategies, trends, and information on curbing obesity, we invite you to attend Dr. Dietz’s presentation at Sage College on Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. Contact Lillian Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 244-3178 for more information or to register.
You can also consult the CDPHP® website for information on effective weight control measures and our Healthier Generation Benefit, designed to address the prevention, assessment, and treatment of childhood obesity.
Scale image by Freepik