America’s Growing Problem – Obesity

America has a GROWING problem and it’s called OBESITY. Obesity is an increase in the number and size of fat cells in the body. When using the BMI measurement which correlates weight and height, overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or greater and obese as 30 or greater. The US is collapsing under its own weight. 66% of the population is overweight and 33% are obese. Clinically severe obesity has quadrupled from 1986 to 2000 and childhood obesity has tripled in the past twenty years! The number of children with type 2 diabetes increased fifty percent in the 1990s and the rate has doubled again since then!

We are getting too big for our health. The ten year risk for disease including diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer and heart disease increase markedly for overweight and obese individuals. Remember, people can make fat cells at any age. When you diet you reduce the amount of fat in a cell not the number of cells. When there are not enough cells to store excess fat it accumulates in the liver, heart, muscle and pancreas leading to insulin resistance. 80-90% of fat is subcutaneous or under the skin; 10-20% is visceral or in and around vital organs. This visceral fat is more active releasing inflammatory hormones and promoting insulin resistance. Gaining weight around the abdomen contributes to diabetes and heart disease. 80% of obese suffer from at least one chronic health condition.

Obesity significantly increases the risk of ALL the major causes of death in the US. There are 300,000 premature deaths annually in the US associated with obesity. Obesity costs the nation greater than 100 billion dollars annually. Obesity kills more Americans every year than Aids, all cancers and all accidents combined. Obese individuals who are non smokers can be expected to lose 6-7 years of their lifespan! This is a wake up call ladies and gentlemen!

~Dr. Giannotto

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