Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million). The number of overweight and obese Americans has continued to increase since 1960, a trend that is not slowing down. Today, 64.5 percent of adult Americans (about 127 million) are categorized as being overweight or obese. Healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $100 billion.

Obesity is described as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more.

The BMI is a simple formula using your height and weight to determine if you are carrying to much extra fat on your body. 

Obesity is a chronic disease with a strong familial component.

Obesity increases one’s risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type 2), heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and cancer of the breast, prostate and colon.

It was previously believed that when factoring in deaths from obesity related heart disease, cancers,and other ailments, obesity would be far and away America’s number one killer with nearly 3/4 million people dying each year.

The true death toll from obesity is less than a third of the government’s previous estimate, researchers are reporting now, contradicting warnings that poor diet and physical inactivity are overtaking smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

A study by respected researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute found that being obese accounted for 112,000 deaths in 2000, far fewer than the estimate of 400,000 deaths in a separate CDC study published last year.

Poor diet and lack of exercise still rank as the nation’s No. 2 preventable killer based on the new estimate, but well behind smoking (435, 000 deaths a year) and closer to alcohol consumption (85,000 deaths). Dispite this, the National Institute of Health annually spends less than 1.0 percent of its budget on obesity research

Diet and physical activity are key to weight control.

Calories, Fat & Exercise

What happens if you take in more or fewer calories(energy) than your body burns? You either gain or lose fat, respectively. Your body stores an accumulation of 3,500 extra calories, as 1 pound of fat — fat is the body’s way of saving energy for a rainy day. If, on the other hand, you burn 3,500 more calories than you eat, whether by exercising more or eating less, your body converts 1 pound of its stored fat into energy to make up for the deficit.

The great thing about exercise is that it raises your metabolic rate not only while you’re huffing and puffing, but afterwards. Your metabolism takes a while to return to its normal pace. It continues to function at a higher level; your body burns an increased number of calories for about two hours after you’ve stopped exercising.

Its not as hard as you might think to loose weight. One less can of soda each day (-150 calories) and a brisk walk (-225 calories), burns an extra 375 calories each day or 38 pounds of fat in one year.

Other notes on obesity:

“By way of comparison, obesity has roughly the same association with chronic health conditions as does 20 years of aging” – CDC

Are larger portions to blame? Here are some facts:

  • Soda production has gone from 100 cans (12oz) per person in the 1950’s to 600 cans per person in the 1990’s
  • In 1957, a fastfood burger weight 1 oz, now the average is 6oz.
  • In 1957, a soft drink was 8 oz, now the average is 24 oz.
  • In the 1950’s, a popcorn at the movies held 3 cups of popcorn. Today the average is 16 cups.
  • In the 1970’s 20% of household food budgets was spent eating out. By 1992 it was 38%
  • In one study, children that watched less than 1 hour of TV a day, had the lowest chance of being obese, while children that watched 4 or more hours per day had the highest