According to USA Today, July 7, 2011, the percentage of obese adults increased in 16 states over the past year and did not decline in any state. In addition, the number of adults who say they do not do any physical activity increased in 14 states this past year.
Worse yet, because this report, based on state-by-state obesity data from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in which people self-report their height and weight, the assumption that people tend to under report their weight really causes the percentage of people who are obese to be probably higher than the statistics indicate.
For myself now living in the South, I was dismayed to see that our part of the country was hit hardest by obesity because of high rates of poverty, and a traditional diet that is unhealthy, according to Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit group that prepared the report along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nine of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South according to this report.
A person is considered obese if they are roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Just losing 10 pounds, according to Brad Lamm, founder of Change Institute and author of Just 10 lbs, Easy Steps to Weighing What You Want (Finally), believes that keeping your focus on losing those critical first 10 pounds can begin a new dialogue with yourself about food and about who you are, why you’re here, and what you’re going to contribute to others going forward, thus beginning a new chapter that will help you begin to love yourself differently, especially through the way you feed and nourish your most precious of possessions: YOU! He describes his book as a “spiritual diet book.”
Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have shown that obese men and women who set a more modest goal of losing just 5 to 10% of their body weight are more likely to succeed than those who set more extreme goals. Studies also have shown that individuals losing just 5 to 7% of their body weight can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%! Others experience significant reductions in blood pressure and fewer subsequent diagnoses of high blood pressure than those who did not lose weight, a huge factor in our present health care crisis with relation to obesity.
Imagining not carrying around a 10# bag of potatoes on your tummy can be a great visual! I researched a product that had scientists testing a proprietary formula enhanced with leucine, a muscle-building amino acid found in protein-rich foods. This leucine-enhanced nutrition program was shown to help retain 100% of lean muscle mass allowing people in the program to lose fat, weight, and inches while retaining their lean muscle. Ask me about the special incentive now going on with this program. I love these products.
There is no disagreement in the scientific community that higher body fat levels increase your risk for cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), many cancers, diabetes, and multiple other medical problems. One of the ways to assess whether we are at a healthy weight is using our BMI (body mass index) as a guide. According to the latest scientific literature, healthy body fat levels should be 10 to 20% for men and 15 to 30% for women. Health risks climb steadily as our body fat rises ~ it’s that simple. Here is the formula to find your BMI:
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.45.
- Multiply your height in inches by 0.025. Then square this number.
- Take your answer from step 1 and divide by your answer from step 2. This is your BMI.
- A BMI of less than 18.5 may contribute to health problems in some people such as heart irregularities, depression and other emotional distress; and anemia (some research suggests that it can be as low as 17 and you may still be healthy).
- A BMI of 18.5-22.9 is a good range for most people. If you fall within this zone and eat sensibly, your weight should not cause any health problems.
- A BMI of 23-24.9 is considered a healthy range, although there are small increased risks for chronic disease versus the 18.5-23 category.
- A BMI of 25-27 is considered a Caution Zone. Watch your weight. It could lead to health problems for some peope. Even though it is still considered an “acceptable” range for most people, there are definite increased health risks in this zone.
- A BMI greater than 27 ~ research shows that the higher your BMI goes above 27, the more you risk developing high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers. Low self-esteem and depression may also result from a high BMI.
- Some Big Exceptions ~ The BMI is designed for adults aged twenty to sixty-five years ~ those whose body size and composition is fairly stable. It does not apply to babies, children, adolescents, pregnant or nursing women, senior citizens, very muscular people, and endurance athletes such as runners (The Okinawa Program, Bradley J. Willcox, MD, D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D & Makoto Suzuki, M.D.)
Most of us want to slim down, eat healthier foods, and even take the pledge to lose just 10 pounds. With obesity now proving to be the great epidemic of our time with 61% of Americans falling into the obese category and health costs well above $100 billion a year, it is time to for some action.
Taking charge of our own health and body by following the above suggestions is a great beginning. So what are the secrets of health and longevity?
- Losing those first 10 pounds
- Paying attention to our BMI, and getting those numbers down is our own personal responsibility and has been shown to make a huge difference
- Lifestyle factors such as eating more of a healthy plant-based diet with occasional fish
- Regular physical activity can help us minimize our risk for heart disease, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease
- I also believe that enjoying strong social and community support is essential
- I have chosen to eliminate as much processed foods as possible, including making sure sugar (preferably cane) is on the fifth (or later) item on the ingredient list of any of those particular foods ~ the further down the list is better
- Choosing meal replacements that are high in protein, low in calories, gluten free and low on the glycemic index, particularly when I travel or want to begin the morning with a healthy shake has been a big help for me. (My favorite thing to do is create my “green” shake made in my VitaMix with kale, meal replacement, frozen organic fruit and pure water).
What are some of the things that help you maintain a healthy weight? I would love your comments about this important subject.