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THE MISUNDERSTOOD TRUTHS ABOUT BEING OVERWEIGHT

Over 70% of the US population is overweight and over 30% is considered obese.

Obesity is poised to overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the US, and the majority of those deaths will be directly or indirectly linked to cardiovascular disease.

Being overweight contributes to a variety of other medical conditions including:

  • Adult onset/Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperlidemia (elevated cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Certain kinds of cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Degenerative arthritis

These illnesses adversely affect the quality of our lives as well as drain our personal finances. Medical illness negatively impacts our personal and professional productivity and further depletes our economy because it increases absenteeism and decreases businesses’ bottom line profits. As the population gets sicker, medical health insurance costs escalate.

WEIGHT LOSS PREVENTS ILLNESS

Many of these unhealthy conditions may be reversed or prevented if you are able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Despite this, often our health insurance does NOT cover weight loss programs, medically supervised or not.

Many employers recognize the huge financial drain attributable to increased health insurance costs, as well as diminished employee productivity, and have offered weight loss and wellness programs to their employees directly or by insisting that their health insurance company provide a weight loss and wellness program to their employees. The problem is there are very few programs that actually deliver weight loss that is sustained.

STRUGGLING WITH WEIGHT LOSS? THEN YOU KNOW IT’S DIFFICULT.

Many of us have tried a variety of weight loss programs and may have been able to achieve some success, but in all likelihood if you are still reading this, you have not been able to keep it off. You are not alone; most people share your experience. In fact, the national success rate for sustained weight loss is estimated by some to be less than 10% over time.

Most people inaccurately believe that as one gets older, it is normal to get heavier. As we age, our bone and muscle mass actually tends to decrease. It does NOT make sense to assume it is natural to gain weight with age since the structures that support our weight are less capable of doing just that. This is why many of us experience the so-called aches and pains of ’getting older.’ As we gain weight, our body wears out quicker. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO.

Only when we understand the root cause of being overweight are we able to implement a true and lasting solution to it.

OBESITY IS A COMMON, SERIOUS, AND COSTLY DISEASE

  • From 2017 – 2020, 41.9% of Americans were classified as obese. (NHANES, 2021)
  • Over the 21-year period between 1999 and 2020, US obesity prevalence rose from 30.5% to 41.9%, while severe obesity rose from 4.7% to 9.2%. (NHANES, 2021)
  • Conditions associated with obesity, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, are responsible for a high percentage of preventable deaths.
  • Estimates show that in 2019 the medical costs of obesity in the US were near $173 billion. Individuals with obesity had medical bills that were $1,861 more compared to those with a healthy weight.

FACTS ABOUT OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY?

Worldwide, obesity and overweight are the fifth major cause of mortality, taking away at least 2.8 million lives annually. Additionally, it is liable for 44% of diabetes cases, 23% of cardiac heart disease and between 7% and 41% of certain types of cancer.

Below are some global estimates from the WHO in 2008.

  • Over 1.4 billion adults aged 20 and above were classified as overweight.
  • Out of this group of overweight adults, 200 million men and 300 million women were obese.
  • Globally, the number of overweight adults is estimated to be over 10%.

In 2011, over 40 million kids younger than five years old were obese. Even though this had mostly been known as a challenge for high-income countries, obesity and overweight are now more common in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in urbanized areas. Over 30 million overweight minors reside in developing nations and 10 million live in developed ones.

In comparison to underweight, an excessive amount of weight increases the risk of death globally. For instance, 65% of the population of Earth is located in countries where obesity and being overweight turn out to be lethally more dangerous than being underweight. (this encompasses all of the countries with high-incomes as well as most of those with middle-incomes).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Barry Schiff, MD is the Medical Director of CardioMender, MD Weight Loss Specialists located in Pembroke Pines, FL. He is board certified in Cardiovascular Diseases and in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Schiff has served as Chief of Medicine and as Chief of Staff of Memorial Hospital Pembroke and has been practicing clinical cardiology in the South Florida community for over 25 years. He has also served as Physician CEO and President of University Heart Institute Cardiovascular Group in Pembroke Pines, FL.

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