The Dangers of Obesity and What You can do to Fight It
With pumpkin-flavored everything flooding the grocery store shelves, and that Thanksgiving Feast right around the corner, and of course, all the cookies and sugary sweets we indulge in around the holidays, this might be a good time to talk about the obesity epidemic plaguing our country as well as what you can do about it.
Why You Should Care
By now, you’ve seen the headlines about the dangers of obesity, but how thoroughly are you reading these articles? Whether you’re a parent, a spouse or child, you need to take care of yourself so you can take care of those around you. No one wants to see their loved one struggling with health issues, especially when they could have been prevented. Considering that an alarming 70% of Americans are considered overweight or obese, (Who Is at Risk for Overweight or Obesity?) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is right - obesity truly is a national epidemic.
The Dangers of Obesity
There are numerous health risks associated with obesity. As your weight goes up, so does the danger of developing many diseases. 9Health Fair Vice President Marte Meyer says the biggest ones to look out for are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for those older than 25 (Top 10 Obesity-Related Diseases). It often leads to strokes and other life-threatening cardiovascular diseases, such as Coronary Heart Disease. This is when plaque builds up in your arteries and blocks the blood flow to your heart. This can cause you to have a heart attack (What are the Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity).
It’s not just adults who are in danger of the numerous side effects associated with obesity. These days, children are more at risk than ever before. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last 30 years. They too are in jeopardy of developing cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure (Childhood Obesity Facts).
How You can Take Control
If you or a loved one in your family is struggling with obesity, the best thing you can do is to make the fight a family affair. After all, your family is a team. Working together and talking through the challenges is the best way to stay on track with your goals.
According to Meyer, the biggest challenge for people is knowing how much they are actually eating. He suggests keeping a food diary. “It’s a great way to get started in dealing with weight issues, as most people don’t realize how much they are consuming.”
Studies show that even small measures in weight loss can significantly decrease your chances of developing obesity-related health risks (Obesity treatment: achieving long-term success for women). Set realistic goals for yourself. In the beginning, come up with one thing you can do every day to help you lose weight such as getting up a little earlier to eat a healthy breakfast or to go for a 15 minute run or walk every morning. You might find yourself amazed at the results you can achieve from small changes in your routine.
It’s important that you lead by example. Taking care of yourself can inspire those around you to take care of themselves. You might just find that in your quest to be healthy and in control of your weight, those in your family will join you, making it easier to stick to your goals. “Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking are all ways to take care of yourself,” says Meyer. “Seeing you do these things can help inspire the belief in others that they can do it as well. It is ‘contagious’ in a good sense.”
When it comes to children, it’s important to work together with your child’s doctor to find ways to bring the weight under control. Often, one of the best ways to help them is with a healthy and balanced diet. Try to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains (What can be done to fight the childhood obesity epidemic?). Also, make sure you limit the time they spend sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. Get them outdoors and get them moving. Kids can still play outside even if it’s chilly – just put on an extra layer. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you when they get cold!
Nowadays, there is also a great deal of technology out there to help you with your weight loss goals. Whether you’re counting calories or steps, there are many free apps right on your phone that can make it easy for you to keep track of your fitness goals (The Best Weight Loss iPhone and Android Apps of the Year). Some technology goes a step further by keeping track of your activity levels and how well you’re sleeping. Believe it or not, sleep is very important when it comes to weight loss.
Remember, if you are severely overweight, you’re not alone. There are numerous resources available to help you. If you’re not sure if you or someone in your family is considered to be obese or at risk of obesity-related disease, visit one of our Family 9Health Fair’s this fall for affordable and convenient health screenings to ensure your family is on the right track for a healthy school year.
How do I know if I’m overweight or obese?
I need help losing weight
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Finding a nutritious diet that works for you
Where can I find affordable testing for obesity-related diseases?
Weight management for children
How to talk to your child about losing weight
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