Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity

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obesestationarybikeFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article on the Seattle PI web site written by Timi Gustafson entitled Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity. The article starts by stating two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Along with this, obesity related illness are on the rise, including asthma, weak joints, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. We are eating too much food, make unhealthy food selections, participating in less physical activity, sedentary, and involved in too much technology. Recently, we have seen local governments try to ban large soft drinks, and implement fax taxes. Obesity has been such a hot topic, but change is needed to our lifestyles to fix it. Please visit the Seattle PI web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Obesity and a host of illnesses related to weight problems kill more people than any other disease. Experts are scrambling to find answers for what causes the epidemic and seem to come up with new explanations every day, only to be contradicted by the next study. Unsurprisingly, consumers are confused and stop paying attention.

How is it that we are eating ourselves to death, not just here but increasingly around the world? Does the so-called “Western diet,” consisting of cheap, highly processed, highly caloric foods, make us fat? Or is it sugary sodas? Are portion sizes too big? Does the food industry turn us into addicts? Do we just not exercise enough?

So far, none of the countless studies on these subjects have had much impact in practical terms. Lobbying efforts and political gridlock are oftentimes blamed for the maddeningly slow progress. But that may not be the only reason. Some experts warn that despite of all the research, finding definite answers may prove elusive for some time to come.

“If we can find the causes of obesity, we can try to eliminate or counter them,” wrote Christopher Chabris, a professor of psychology at Union College, together with his colleague Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. “Unfortunately, finding causes is easier said than done, and causes we think we see can turn out to be illusions.”

Hoping for a smoking gun that lets us clearly identify causation may not be in the cards, ever. As an example, the authors cite a study that analyzed potential connections between food advertising on billboards and prevalence of obesity in certain parts of Los Angeles and New Orleans. The study results showed that areas with more outdoor food advertisements had a higher proportion of obese people than those with fewer ads. So, there seems to be a direct link.

To read the full article…..Click here

Finding Balance

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Thank you to the CDC for providing this educational video…..

More than one third of U.S. adults are obese. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than your body uses. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. The key is FINDING A BALANCE in your lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

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– Courtesy of the CDC

Battling Obesity At The Local Level

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obeseboyvectoreatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”We are always looking at the national or international level when we discuss the obesity epidemic facing mankind. I was reading today a local obesity story from FOX 11 (Wisconsin) written by Chad Doran entitled Battling obesity in the Fox Valley. Mr. Doran mentions how experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese, and Fox Valley is facing the same issue. As a local expert stated in the story, ‘change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.’ Such great points to take notice. In the United States, many are worried about the current generation of children having a shorter life expectancy than their parents. The government is worried about healthcare costs in the future, as obesity related illnesses (asthma, cancer, heart disease, weak joint, type 2 diabetes) are on the rise. So, change is needed, and as the Fox Valley article suggests, it starts at the family level. Please visit the Fox 11 web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Battling bulging waistlines. It’s a growing problem everywhere. Even in the Fox Valley.

Health experts say it’s now an epidemic 30 years in the making.

It’s not hard to spot, even here in the Fox Valley. Experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese.

“We struggle just like the rest of the nation does,” said Dr. John Edwards, a pediatrician with Theda Care.

He says change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.

“As much as possible if we can have parents on the same page, realizing that healthy eating is better for all of us. That’s going to make an important difference as well as what’s available and setting the example for kids.”

The second meeting of a Fox Valley summit on obesity is focusing on initiatives to combat the problem. The first meeting of local leaders last week identified problem areas and causes.

“The healthier our employees are the lower our healthcare costs, the lower our healthcare costs the more money we can put into city services,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.

The city of Appleton employees more than 600 full-time workers. Hanna says the city has incentive driven programs to encourage employees to be physically fit. Just one way businesses can help stem the tide of obesity.

To read the full article…..Click here

U.S. Obesity Rates

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overweightbusmanFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from CBS written by Ryan Jaslow entitled New survey tracks U.S. obesity rates: Where does your state stack up?. We have discussed here so many times the problem facing the United States regarding obesity. Many Americans are getting less physical activity and eating poorly, resulting in many obese citizens. Obesity related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weak joints, and asthma are also rising. Recently, a new Gallup poll shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese. Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, and West Virginia is the state with the highest obesity rate. This is a very interesting article, and very important to read. Mr. Jaslow did an excellent job conveying his message, and educates his audience about a critical issue in the United States. Please visit the CBS web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

The most obese state in the country has almost double the proportion of plus-sized citizens than the least obese state, according to a new survey.

The newly-released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese.

Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, the report found. The Centennial State has held the title of thinnest state for three years running, according to Gallup-Healthways.

For West Virginia, the new numbers mark the third year in a row as the state with the highest obesity rate. But according to the latest figures, the state’s obesity rate is down from 35.3 percent in last year’s survey.

Obesity rates in each state were not statistically different in 2012 when compared with findings from 2011, with the exception of four states: New Jersey, Georgia — which showed increases in obesity rates — and North Carolina and Delaware, which saw decreases.

Obesity rates continued recent regional trends and were highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states (click slideshow to the left to see where your state stacks up).

The survey found the national obesity rate held steady at 26.2 percent in 2012 — compared with 26.1 percent in 2011 — but is still higher than the 2008 U.S. obesity average of 25.5 percent.

To read the complete article…..Click here

White House Declares: First Lady Has Reduced Childhood Obesity Rates

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overweightchildFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from The Daily Caller by Nicole Lafond entitled White House Declares: First Lady Has Reduced Childhood Obesity Rates. I have been around the fight against childhood obesity for over 30 years, and know that it is very hard for one person to take credit for reducing childhood obesity. It is a team effort. Someone can be a strong advocate in the fight against childhood obesity, have the luxury of ‘billing’ expensive ad campaigns, but all one can really do is be an advocate against childhood obesity, and hope to educate those in their path. Fighting obesity comes from within, from one person, one attitude, and one being. The White House is declaring Michelle Obama has turned back childhood obesity (not sure if the White House actually said this, just basing this statement on the Daily Caller article). But, has it really been turned back? I know in certain cities like NYC and LA, there has been some ‘mild’ positive results in reducing childhood obesity.

I really like Mrs. Obama, and many times, I am inspired by her. I do give the First Lady a lot of credit, and I respect her as well as her work. I do feel she is a strong advocate in the fight against childhood obesity, but I sometimes wonder how many health organizations and individuals out there in the health / fitness industry will feel when they read ‘she‘ has reduced childhood obesity rates? She has brought great attention to the cause, and has been a positive role model for many children. For me, if any child has lost weight, and reduced their obesity, I give ‘them‘ the credit. But, kudos to Mrs. Obama, as I do appreciate what she has done. Please visit the Daily Caller web site (link provided below) to read the complete article”

From the article…..

Michelle Obama has turned back childhood obesity nationwide, the White House declared Thursday.

“Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives,” reads an announcement from the Office of the First Lady. “Since then parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.”

“Thanks to these efforts … the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states,” the statement says, marking the third anniversary of the first lady’s signature public health program.

That assertion is bolstered in part by a late-2012 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — an organization that has been publicly supportive of the first lady’s initiative — that revealed a decline.

“In recent years, the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off. However, some cities and states have reported modest declines in their rates, following peaks in the early 2000s,” an overview of the RWJF report reads.

The report received wide attention last year thanks in part to the New York Times’ reporting, and credits expanding food regulation in cities like New York and Philadelphia with small declines in childhood obesity between 2006 and 2010.

But The Times cautioned against giving the first lady too much credit for the shift:

“Though obesity is now part of the national conversation, with aggressive advertising campaigns in major cities and a push by Michelle Obama, many scientists doubt that anti-obesity programs actually work. Individual efforts like one-time exercise programs have rarely produced results.”

To read the complete article…..Click here

CDC Reports Dropping Rates In Childhood Obesity

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From Your Health Journal…..”I do enjoy visiting the FOX News site often, as they have some quality, informative articles that pertain to health. I encourage visitors to Your Health Journal to visit FOX News for some great articles (link below). Today’s article review from FOX is about childhood obesity rates going down. This has been a hot topic over the years, and now, some positive news. As the article states, the number of low-income preschoolers who are obese has dropped, although modest, a positive sign. They can attribute this positive change to healthy food now available to some lower income families, which is a great thing, and long overdue. These families are also being taught the value of physical activity. As most of us know, obesity in general has been on the rise over the years, contributing to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So, although a modest improvement, a very positive sign. Please visit the FOX site to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

The number of low-income preschoolers who qualify as obese or “extremely obese” has dropped over the last decade, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Although the decline was only “modest” and may not apply to all children, researchers said it was still encouraging.

“It’s extremely important to make sure we’re monitoring obesity in this low-income group,” said the CDC’s Heidi Blanck, who worked on the study.

Those kids are known to be at higher risk of obesity than their well-off peers, in part because access to healthy food is often limited in poorer neighborhoods.

The new results can’t prove what’s behind the progress, Blanck told Reuters Health – but two possible contributors are higher rates of breastfeeding and rising awareness of the importance of physical activity even for very young kids.

Blanck and her colleagues used data on routine clinic visits for about half of all U.S. kids eligible for federal nutrition programs – including 27.5 million children between age two and four.

They found 13 percent of those preschoolers were obese in 1998. That grew to just above 15 percent in 2003, but dropped slightly below 15 percent in 2010, the most recent study year included.

Similarly, the prevalence of extreme obesity increased from nearly 1.8 percent in 1998 to 2.2 percent in 2003, then dropped back to just below 2.1 percent in 2010, the research team reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Whether kids are obese is determined by their body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in relation to height – and by their age and sex.

To read the full article…..Click here