Contradictory as it seems, malnutrition is a key contributor to obesity - Madeleine M. Kunin
image by: Steve Baker
"The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this "globesity" epidemic includes over one billion overweight adults of which at the least 300 million are considered obese. Over two thirds of Americans are overweight and about one third are considered obese. Likewise in 2004, over 6 million Canadians were overweight and over 4.5 million were obese.
In 2009 ~64% of all Americans were either overweight or obese defined as having a Body Mass Index of 25.0 to 29.9 and 30.5% of all Americans are obese, defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30.0 or higher. The tendency to become obese increases with age and, while there are slightly more overweight men than women, there are significantly more obese and very obese women than men.
Contributing factors such as reliance on fast foods, super-sized eating and substituting television and computers for more active pursuits, is fueling a continued growth in the number of people battling a weight problem. The enormous surge in obesity has meant a similar surge in obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and orthopedic problems – disorders that are costly to treat, often impossible to cure and detrimental to quality of life.
People who become or remain seriously overweight face a disturbing array of possible obesity-linked problems including; high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, gallstones, low back pain, heartburn, gout, obstructive sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, some types of cancer, including endometrial, breast, prostate and colon, complications of pregnancy, poor female reproductive health such as menstrual irregularities, infertility, bladder control problems (e.g., stress incontinence) and osteoporosis, to name a few.
Beyond medical problems, obesity also creates psychological disorders including depression, eating disorders, distorted body image and low self esteem. These issues are aggravated by social norms that place a high value on physical attractiveness and stereotype obese people as lazy or undisciplined. As a result, overweight and obese people often have difficulty leading the active and satisfying life that most people would like to lead.
The percentage of obesity that can be attributed to genetics varies from 6% to 85% depending on the population examined. However, while genes may increase one's risk for obesity, they do not by themselves cause obesity. Genes do not explain the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity around the world.
For most people, obesity results from eating too much and not being active enough. Less than one-third of American adults report that they do at least thirty minutes of brisk walking or other moderate activity on most days of the week, and almost half engage in no leisure-time activity at all.
The overwhelming factors responsible for obesity are environmental. Portion sizes continue to increase. Americans were eating about 200 more calories per day in 2003 than they were in 1993. Fast-food restaurants encourage customers to "super size" and purchase "value" meals. Further, people eat out more often than in the past and many restaurants offer huge portion sizes. Television and other electronic media contribute to obesity through commercials urging people to buy food of low nutritional value, and by encouraging sedentary behavior...
What's frustrating is that weight loss diets don't appear to the answer. Diets fail for several reasons. It's now generally accepted that most people will plateau at a certain weight due to a decreased metabolic rate which causes most people to give up and go back to their old ways. Furthermore diets fail because most are not sustainable. The more restrictive the diet, the less likely an individual will be to remain faithful to it because in general, people cannot endure extended periods of hunger and deprivation.
Another reason diets may fail is that they neglect to teach dieters new eating habits to assist them to maintain their weight loss. Since the weight-loss diet is viewed as a temporary measure with a beginning and an end, at its conclusion, most dieters return to their previous eating habits and often regain the lost weight or even more weight. Those who work with people who are overweight or obese assert that diets do not fail; instead, dieters fail to learn how to eat properly to prevent weight regain. In addition, despite the many benefits of exercise, U.S. statistics show that two-thirds of adults are not physically active on a regular basis and a quarter get virtually no exercise at all.
So, what about weight-loss or bariatric surgery? The latest review of clinical studies of bariatric surgery suggest that bariatric surgery provided greater weight loss for any degree of obesity compared with non-surgical treatments. Surgery was also associated with reductions in diabetes, hypertension, and other co-existing conditions.
However, the decision to undergo bariatric surgery should not be made without fully exploring the benefits and the risks. The rock bottom reality is that bariatric surgery can give an obese person a fresh start, rapidly improving their health and dramatically accelerating the so often discouraging weight loss process.
But, even if it looks like a magic bullet, it’s not. The same need to change lifestyle habits apply. The good news is that it may be much easier to make those changes when a person is not facing the uphill battle of needing to lose 100+ pounds allowing one to quickly enjoy much greater physical health and the emotional boost that comes from achieving a better physical appearance.
While there are inherent risks, the consensus is that bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe clinical obesity. However, anyone considering this surgery should recognize that success is fleeting unless there is a serious and long term commitment to changes in lifestyle."
Source: Excerpt from Lap Bands - Worthless or Worthwhile? Health WorldNet, May 18 2012 Updated.
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State of Obesity
The State of Obesity (formerly F as in Fat) has raised awareness about the seriousness of the obesity epidemic, encouraged the creation of a national obesity prevention strategy and highlighted promising approaches for reversing the epidemic at the state and local level. The State of Obesity is a collaborative project of the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is supported by a grant from the Foundation.
The Big Fat Truth
More and more studies show that being overweight does not always shorten life — but some public-health researchers would rather not talk about them.
Campaign to End Obesity
The Campaign to End Obesity Action Fund collaborates with leaders from the Administration, Congress and federal agencies on legislation and policies to reverse the obesity epidemic.
Obesity is an epidemic in the United States and in other developed countries. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including at least one in five children. Nearly one-third are obese.
National Obesity Foundation
We are a non-profit organization created to help the over 35% of Americans who are struggling with obesity and its related diseases. Through our community awareness, patient advocacy and award programs, we provide support that can help lead those individuals to living a healthier, more rewarding life.
Obesity Action Coalition
The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a nearly 50,000 member-strong 501(c)(3) National non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the individual affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy and support.
Obesity Prevention Program
Bloomberg Philanthropies is stepping up to combat this growing and deadly trend by helping to identify and implement policies that aim to halt, and ideally reverse, the global rise in obesity. Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Obesity Prevention Program to support policies targeted at preventing obesity among individuals in Mexico. If proven successful, these policies can be used in other low- and middle-income countries.
The Obesity Society is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. Since 1982, The Obesity Society has been committed to encouraging research on the causes and treatment of obesity, and to keeping the medical community and public informed of new advances.
Obesity Treatment Foundation
OTF is increasing the medical community and public’s collective awareness about obesity treatment options, including weight management medications, which physicians may prescribe to help patients succeed in making positive lifestyle choices.
ObesityWeek has something for every scientist, physician, surgeon, allied health professional, and policy maker interested in solving one of the world’s biggest public health problem. ObesityWeek is a unique, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, surgical intervention and prevention of obesity.
Founded in 1994, Shape Up America!® is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization committed to raising awareness of obesity as a health issue and to providing responsible information on healthy weight management. Take a journey through our website to find information and ideas to achieve a healthy weight for you and your family.
STOP Obesity Alliance
The STOP Obesity Alliance will foster change in society's perceptions of, and approaches to, preventing and treating obesity in the context of the real-world environment in which we live.
Walk from Obesity
The Walk from Obesity is the nation’s largest gathering of individuals affected by obesity. In cities all across the country, those focused on addressing obesity will join forces and walk to raise money for research, education, prevention and treatment of obesity.
War On Obesity Today
Through implementation of fitness and nutrition education, programs and support systems we aim to:
Cure childhood obesity and adult obesity and fight against obesity-related diseases including Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. Although we help everyone we focus on aiding children and adults of under-educated and under-served populations (those who cannot afford health, fitness and nutrition services, minorities, those with health challenges: living in poverty, dealing with post-traumatic stress, domestic violence, etc…).
WOOT also promotes overall wellness and aims to build healthier communities by increasing awareness, interest in and access to physical activity, healthy nutrition, and healthy living.
Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.
World Obesity Federation
World Obesity Federation represents professional members of the scientific, medical and research communities from over 50 regional and national obesity associations. Through our membership we create a global community of organisations dedicated to solving the problems of obesity.
Our mission is to lead and drive global efforts to reduce, prevent and treat obesity.
American Board of Obesity Medicine
The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) serves the public and the field of obesity medicine by establishing a credentialing protocol and maintaining standards for assessment and certification of candidate physicians.
American College of Preventive Medicine
As the leader for the specialty of Preventive Medicine and physicians dedicated to prevention, ACPM improves the health of individuals and populations through evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention, and systems-based approaches to improving health and health care.
American Gastroenterological Association
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology
American Obesity Treatment Association
AOTA was formed to bring together individuals who are facing the often life-long struggle with obesity. Whether you are beginning to address your weight issues, you have been fighting the battle for a long-time, or you have 30 pounds or 300 pounds to lose, you are not alone in this journey.
American Society for Nutrition
The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together the world's top researchers, clinical nutritionists and industry to advance our knowledge and application of nutrition for the sake of humans and animals. Our focus ranges from the most critical details of research and application to the broadest applications in society, in the United States and around the world.
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
A.S.P.E.N. is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of clinical nutrition and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has launched campaigns to fight pet obesity within the veterinary medical community, veterinary schools, and state and local veterinary organizations, and has reached out to various media outlets. We are made up of dedicated veterinarians and veterinary healthcare personnel who are committed to making the lives of dogs, cats, all other animals and people healthier and more vital.
Canadian Obesity Network
Mission: to act as a catalyst for addressing obesity in Canada and as a platform to foster knowledge translation, capacity building and partnerships among stakeholders so that researchers, health professionals, policy makers, industry and other stakeholders may develop effective solutions to prevent and treat obesity.
Cardiometabolic Health Congress
The CMHC provides unprecedented access to the largest U.S.-based multidisciplinary cardiometabolic risk summit of 1,500+ clinicians world-renowned faculty, plenary sessions, and interactive case-based symposia to deliver on all counts – translating the most current clinical data into real-world solutions that will undoubtedly make a significant impact on your daily practice.
Primary Care Cardiometabolic Risk Summit
The Primary Care Cardiometabolic Risk Summit is dedicated to translating late-breaking clinical research on cardiometabolic syndrome risk reduction into practical and targeted education that can easily be applied to real-world clinical scenarios in the primary care setting.