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

The Healthiest State

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From Your Health Journal…..”An interesting article from Today.com via Men’s Health by Cassie Shortsleeve about the healthiest states. We hear so much about Americans being overweight or obese, as the article suggests that 27.8 percent of Americans are obese, 9.5 percent have diabetes, 30.8 percent have hypertension, and 26.2 percent lead sedentary lifestyles. The good news? Some states are better of than others. As many of you know, I love articles from Men’s Health magazine, and this is a good one. I have included a little tease below, but please visit the Today.com web site (listed below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

If only getting your health back on track was as simple as moving to a healthier place. The research is certainly out there: People who live in areas with plenty of green plants and trees are happier, and working out in a city could lead to higher inflammation.

But when the United Health Foundation released a list of the healthiest and unhealthiest states this month, the results were grim: A full 27.8 percent of Americans are obese, 9.5 percent have diabetes, 30.8 percent have hypertension, and 26.2 percent lead sedentary lifestyles. The good news? Some states are better of than others.

Take your health to the next level with these tips from the five healthiest states–no matter where you live.

Get Smart Like #1 Vermont
According to the report, Vermonters work their bodies and their brains–the state has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country.

What you can learn: People with more than a high school diploma live up to 7 years longer, says a Harvard Medical School study. But researchers credit the extra years to the idea that the more educated you are, the better access you have to health information. The good news: Even if you don’t have a Ph.D., up-to-date health information is available at your fingertips. Get yourself up to speed by checking out our roundup of The Best Health Apps.

Instill Happiness Like #2 Hawaii
Besides the obvious lure and health boosts of a sunny destination (vitamin D improves your mood) and an outdoorsy culture (surfing, hiking, and biking burn calories), Hawaii also ranked #1 for well-being in the 2012 Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index–a survey of more than 350,000 people. (Here’s why Hawaiians are the The Happiest People in America.)

What you can learn: You can’t steal the Hawaiian sun, but as little as 15 minutes of exercise outdoors on a sunny day–anywhere–can increase feelings of happiness and lower your risk for depression.

Break a Sweat Like #3 New Hampshire
With one of the lowest sedentary lifestyle rates in the U.S., New Hampshire stays healthy because it’s blessed by surroundings that welcome exercise. Mountains, lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and trails provide year-round fitness escapes.

To read the full article…..Click here

New Health Rankings: Of 17 Nations, U.S. Is Dead Last

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From Your Health Journal…..”Please go visit The Atlantic for a great article about the new health rankings written by Grace Rubenstein. We’ve reported on this web site so many times how many Americans are obese or overweight….and that heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, joint trouble, and other health issues are on the rise. Now, a report has come out stating the hard facts that American citizens rank last in health. The report was prepared by a panel of doctors, epidemiologists, demographers, and other researchers charged by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine to better understand Americans’ comparative health. For three decades, Americans, particularly men, have had either the lowest or near the lowest likelihood of surviving to age 50. The most powerful reasons found for that were homicide, car accidents, other kinds of accidents, non-communicable diseases, and perinatal problems like low birth weight and premature birth, which contribute to high infant mortality. Please visit The Atlantic web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

We’ve known for years that Americans tend to be overweight and sedentary, and that our health care system, despite being the priciest in the world, produces some less-than-plum results. Health nerds who closely follow the news may even have known that we live shorter lives than people in other rich nations, and that infants in the U.S. die from various causes at far higher rates.

But a fresh report, out Wednesday, tapped vast stores of data to compare the health of affluent nations and delivered a worrisome new message: Americans’ health is even worse than we thought, ranking below 16 other developed nations.

“The news is that this is across the lifespan, and regardless of income,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who was not an author of the study. “A lot of people thought it was underserved populations that were driving the statistics — the poor, the uninsured. They still are a big part of our challenge, but the fact that even if you’re fairly well-to-do you still have these problems shatters that myth.”

The question is: Will it make a difference?

The report was prepared by a panel of doctors, epidemiologists, demographers, and other researchers charged by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine to better understand Americans’ comparative health. They examined when and why people die in the U.S. and 16 other countries, including Australia, Japan, Canada, and nations in Western Europe. The data they pulled — from such bodies as the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — already existed, but no one had yet examined it this comprehensively.

The results surprised even the researchers. To their alarm, they said, they found a “strikingly consistent and pervasive” pattern of poorer health at all stages of life, from infancy to childhood to adolescence to young adulthood to middle and old age. Compared to people in other developed nations, Americans die far more often from injuries and homicides. We suffer more deaths from alcohol and other drugs, and endure some of the worst rates of heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes.

To read the full article…..Click here