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Obesity is an epidemic in the U.S.

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The number one health threat facing Americans today is obesity.  That’s the conclusion of studies undertaken by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The number one health threat facing Americans today is obesity.  That’s the conclusion of studies undertaken by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

If you think obesity is a non-Muslim problem only, think again: Muslims living in the U.S. are also at high risk of being overweight.

Obesity is commonly classified as a disproportionate amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass.  In less scientific language, obesity means a body weight that is at least 30 percent over the ideal weight for a specified height, a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey an estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight–BMI 25.0-29.9–or obese.

Obesity rates are not flat-lining, they’re on the increase.  Studies of trends have shown that the prevalence of obesity in each of the 50 states was less than 20 percent in 1995.  In 2000, only 28 states had obesity prevalence rates less than 20 percent. 

While obesity is present in all ages, ethnic groups and educational levels in the U.S., there are those who are more at risk: Individuals between 50 and 59 years, the African American community, those with an education less than a high school diploma and women more so than men.

But if you think that the problem is isolated to adults, you’re wrong.  Today, childhood obesity in the U.S. is common in more than 15 percent of the population under 18-years-old, which is three times greater than it was thirty years ago.  This is of concern since overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have related health problems and become obese adults.

Obesity is not just a matter of image.  Obesity greatly increases one’s risk for developing several serious diseases that can–and do–kill.  The list is long.  Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, polycystic ovarian syndrome, stroke, sleep apnea and respiratory problems are a few of the conditions which strike the obese.  Also some cancers such as endometrial, breast and colon cancers can be triggered by being overweight.  Not to mention diabetes.  Obesity can also affect an individual psychologically by leading to lower self-esteem and depression.

So what is it that makes people obese?  Behavior, environment, and genetic factors are believed to have a combined effect in causing overweight and obesity problems for people.

Body weight is largely the result of factors such as genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and socioeconomic status.  Although there is not much one can do about their genes, metabolism, the culture one is born into or socioeconomic status, there are tangible ways to change one’s behavior and environment that can play an effective role in preventing or reducing obesity.

An energy imbalance of eating too many calories while not getting enough exercise or doing enough physical activities causes weight gain.  Overweight and obesity are a consequence of energy imbalance over an extended period of time.  To lose weight one needs to decrease their calorie intake while increasing their calories burned through more physical activities.  To maintain a proper weight one needs to find a balance between their calorie intake and their calories burned.

 

Weight-loss tips

1. Set reasonable weight goals and plan for success through better habits of eating and exercise.

2. Eat a healthier variety of foods.

3. Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

4. Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grain products.

5.Increase fiber intake by eating a variety of foods that contain fiber naturally.

6. Drink more water.

7. Use sugars only in moderation.

8. Avoid excessive snacking.

9. Use salt and sodium only in moderation.

 

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