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Posts Tagged ‘Obesity’

We hear it again and again. Obesity is killing us! Are we listening, or maybe the question is do we care? A report, The Heavy Burden of Obesity 2019, identified obesity issues from a compilation of data from 52 countries as well as the US. Within the next three decades, obesity will result in 462 million new cases of cardiovascular disease and 212 million cases of diabetes. In the US, obesity will reduce life expectancy by nearly four years. In most of the countries, more than half of the population is overweight. In the US, that figure is nearly 70 percent. Most people have succumbed to sedentary activities, and 40 percent fail to consume enough fruits and vegetables. That’s a message for all of us whether we are obese or not. It matters.  Image result for free clipart pixabay obesity

This study and others show that obesity by itself isn’t the only culprit decreasing life expectancy. Many food-related practices under gird the reason for overweight societies.

The Lancet published a study from 195 countries on the relationship between dietary habits and chronic non-communicable diseases between the period 1990-2017. Diet-related deaths were highest in Uzbekistan and lowest in Israel. The US ranked 43rd. In 2017, eleven million deaths worldwide were linked to consumption of poor diets high in sugar, salt, and processed meat that contributed to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Subjects drank more than 10 times the recommended amount of sugary drinks, a common factor in obesity. They consumed less nuts and seeds, whole grains, and fruits than suggested by national dietary standards and used excessive amounts of sodium.Weight Loss, Weight, Nutrition, Scale

A study of nearly 45,000 French 45 years-of-age or older found that those who consumed greater amounts of ultra-processed food had a greater risk of early death. Ready-to-eat or-heat foods from ingredients combined with additives signified ultra-processed foods. Those of younger age, lower income, lower educational level, living alone, having excessive body weight and less physical activity were likely to choose ultra-processed foods.

These studies aren’t the first concerning obesity’s impact on longevity nor will they be the last. Most studies found obese men more susceptible to disease conditions leading to early death than were obese women. In some studies, obese men lowered their life expectancy as much as 20 years compared to 5 years for women. That’s significant.

In the US, obesity directly or indirectly impacts healthcare costs. Obesity accounts for more than 20 percent of healthcare dollars due to conditions caused or complicated by obesity. As we consider why healthcare costs continue to escalate, remember that the increasing number of people with obesity is a major cause. When society improves eating habits and decides to take positive action about the rising number of overweight and obese citizens, healthcare costs can decline. Issues of excessive weight and unhealthy food choices affect all of us. Are we listening? What are we willing to do about it?

Obesity, Health, Fitness, Identify, Disease, Symptoms

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Is any one diet more effective than others? People with excessive weight extend well beyond borders of the United States. It is a worldwide dilemma. The purpose of World Obesity Day on October 11, 2019 is to draw attention to the need for all nations to address this escalating problem.

Many continue to look for the perfect plan to lose weight, and reading diet books has become an American pastime to find the secret. Numerous books promote special foods, meal plans, and food restrictions. Guidelines show authors’ viewpoints whether they are qualified to address the subject or not. Do they work? If all those directions are so good, why are multitudes in our society overweight or obese? Interestingly, most diet plans may work―for a short time.

The Christmas story about eight-year-old Virginia, the little girl who wrote the editor of the New York Sun, asked, “Is there a Santa Claus?” The answer reminds all of us “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and . . .  they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”  Yes, the perfect diet also exists, but we won’t find it on the best seller’s book list. The perfect diet for each of us is the one that keeps us well-nourished to maintain appropriate weight and remain active and healthy to give us “highest beauty and joy.”

My writings and blog posts address weight issues and our addiction to trying the latest fad or weight-loss potion. Recently, I published God’s Diet Plan: Seek Him First, my version of how to find our perfect diet. The foods we consume are personal and individual preferences―something each of us chooses. Nowhere does my book say to “eat this” or “don’t eat that.” We get to pick and choose the diet we want based on taste and the knowledge we gain about wise food choices. My book equips each of us to find the perfect diet for us with appropriate guidance in how to choose the healthiest foods and avoid overindulging.

 

You can find God’s Diet Plan: Seek Him First on Amazon/Kindle, Apple, and Nook by clicking the link or typing in the name of the book on each site. Read the preview and reviews on Amazon to consider if it may help you find the perfect diet. Let’s curb the worldwide obesity epidemic―one person at a time starting with each of us.

 

 

 

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Who doesn’t know that nearly 70 percent of our nation is either overweight or obese? And the trend keeps rising. Dr. Michael Ungar, a family therapist, in his article “Why did Walmart buy a plus-size women’s fashion line?”1 puts his finger on weight-related trends. He  concludes that the move by Walmart “says a lot about failure of the self-help industry . . . and fitness and dieting programs.” Common sense tells us that if Walmart invests in a plus-size woman’s fashion venture, the company expects increased sales and revenue. Plus-sized apparel is one of the fastest growing in the clothing industry. Why wouldn’t it be with more than half of US women now wearing a size 14 or larger?

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But Ungar’s article wasn’t to give accolades to Walmart’s smart financial move. No, his concern, as is mine, was why this avalanche of need for over-sized clothing. Americans now consume 23 percent more calories than in 1970. Ungar points out that while “The self-help, fitness and diet industries have been making billions of dollars promising solutions that simply don’t work,” people are more influenced to make informed decisions when opportunities for better choices are placed in front of them.

Self-help places responsibility on individuals. If we think of the many times we have been influenced by pictures of food or the wafting aroma of pizza, doughnuts, or other favorite foods, we see his point. Many places have supersized sugary drinks or have tempted patrons with extra foods (think “Do you want fries with that?”) to increase sales and revenue. Who can resist? And we aren’t prone to change for the better without strong incentives.

See the source imageUngar insists society needs to shift emphasis from individual’s self-control to changing the world around us such as 1) government intervention on sizes of sugary drinks, 2) calorie counts on menus, 3) taxes on sugar, 4) removing empty calorie foods from checkout lines, and 5) providing greater access to fresh produce for all people. Several of these practices are underway in efforts to reduce the girth and improve overall health of citizens. Many towns and cities have initiated accessibility to parks, walking areas, and bike lanes.

Dr. Ungar makes no claims at knowledge or education in the field of nutrition. He sees before him what all should see―a society run amok from constant exposure to eat too many calories. Is he right? What are your thoughts about regulating, taxing, or whatever it takes to help people make healthier food choices. Drop me a line in the comments and share your views. When do positive actions to control decision making for our own good override freedom of choice to have excess weight that costs in enormous medical bills and lost wages?

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See the source image

 

DeSoto Times-Tribune, P. O. Box 100, Hernando, MS 38632, Vol 123, Issue 46, page 4, June 20, 2019

 

 

 

 

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The number of obese people in our nation continues to escalate causing us to reflect on whether we are part of the statistics, and if not, should we care? Yes, we should. The rate of obesity impacts our entire population in multiple ways.See the source image

  • Healthcare costs: Studies show medical costs for those who are obese run 42 percent higher than costs for healthy weight individuals. Medical expenses (2016) related to weight issues resulted in $149 billion. Half of that was paid by Medicare or Medicare.
  • Job productivity: The consequences of obesity stagnate workflow because of missed work time and absence from schools and industry. Expenses increased for employers and taxpayers.
  • Military readiness: The most common cause of rejection for young adults into military service is related to obesity. Nearly one in three are ineligible due to weight problems. The Department of Defense pays nearly $1 billion annually for obesity-related issues.

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What is Obesity?

While it remains difficult to categorize everyone with the same standard, for adult the BMI remains the most functional tool to evaluate weight. Those who score 30 or above on the BMI scale are considered obese. Those with scores of 40 or more have severe obesity. Because the causes for this disease are complex, research studies continue to assess the many unique variances of individuals. While most who are overweight or obese overeat, the solution isn’t simply to cut calories, although that may be a good start for most.

Why We Should Care?

Obesity continues to rise to epidemic levels. Nearly 40 percent of American’s are obese compared to about 23 percent 25 years ago (late 80s – early 90s). Six states increased in the number of people with obesity from 2016 to 2017―Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Carolina―while 44 states did not show a statistical increase. That’s just one year. What fuels these increases?

Demographically, slightly more women are obese or severely obese than men. While nearly 40 percent of all adults are obese, less than 13 percent of Asians fall into that category while Latinos and blacks have the highest percentage. A greater number of middle-aged and older adults are obese than other age groups. Also, greater risks for obesity seem to occur in those with less education, those living in rural areas, and those with lower-income levels.

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To abate continual escalation of this major health problem, many communities and states have provided better opportunities for those at greater risk as well as for the general public. Numerous towns and cities now promote farmer’s markets as a source for fresh produce and other local food products. Many states and communities have improved access to quality activities in parks, walking trails, and other activity venues.

While all these efforts help, much of the solution rests in food selections individuals make and the quantity of foods they eat. Some industries have lowered sugar content in many products, and others have sought to make society more aware of what they are eating, such as calorie counts on menus. It takes a concerted effort from all of us to choose foods wisely and to help others understand the best way to make healthy choices. Much remains to be done.

Appetizer Summer Organic Colorful Freshnes

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While heart disease, at slightly more than 23 percent, remains the number one cause of death in the United States, cancer with 22.5 percent of deaths, leads the way in mortality we can help prevent by behavior. According to the American Institute on Cancer Research (AICR), nearly 50 percent of the most common cancers can be prevented. February is “Cancer Prevention Month.” What are we doing to help thwart one of these cancers?

Image result for free clip art cancer preventionUp to 90,000 cases of cancer per year are thought to relate to obesity. Those most prevalent include colorectal, breast, endometrial, esophageal, gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, pancreatic, prostate, stomach, and ovarian. Diet in general affects our risk. If this is an area we need to address, the AICR recommends several steps for cancer prevention.

  • Avoid underweight. While many facts are known regarding the problems of too much weight, underweight is not the answer. The wise will remain within a recommended weight range.
  • Avoid components in foods that can hamper weight loss or a healthy diet. Some of these include too much added sugar, especially sugary drinks and high calorie foods, excessive salt/sodium in the diet, and processed foods.
  • Avoid too much red meats and choose fish or white meats such as chicken.
  • Do exercise or remain physically active for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
  • Do eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Several of these foods are high in antioxidants that are known to fight cancer. A few of those include the following:
    • Apple antioxidants come from several phytochemicals, namely quercetin, epicatechin, and anthocyanins. The peels have additional antioxidants.
    • Blueberries, one of the highest fruits in antioxidants, also contribute high levels of vitamins C and K, manganese, and dietary fiber.
    • Legumes, in addition to antioxidants, contain lignans (plant-based substances that may act like human estrogen) and saponins (health-promoting complex compounds) and other substances that may protect against cancer.
    • Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine, mustard greens, collard greens and others provide excellent sources of carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin plus saponins and flavonoids. These chemicals may possibly protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx, plus slow growth of certain cell types associated with breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers.

No one can guarantee you will not get cancer, but how you treat your body can make a difference. Think about the foods in your diet that may contribute to your susceptibility to cancer. Then consider ways you can add or remove foods that may protect you from this dreaded disease. It’s no guarantee, but isn’t it worth a try?

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The Paleo Diet, touted for weight loss, has a growing number of followers. What is this diet? Is it right for you? The Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet or Stone Age Diet, refers to foods available during the Paleolithic Age, when early ancestors weren’t farmers but hunters and gatherers. They depended on food caught or gathered from open fields and forests.

According to Paleo enthusiasts, the diet includes lean meats, shellfish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils (olive and coconut). Restricted foods include dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, salt, refined vegetable oils (such as canola), grains, and all processed foods.

A recent study of older women on this diet caught my attention. The study included thirty-five post-menopausal women who followed the diet for two years and lost significant weight. A researcher not involved in the study pointed out that those conducting the study veered from a true Paleo Diet to one that mimicked much of the Mediterranean Diet, an acceptable plan for healthy eating. A study of only thirty-five subjects concerned me.

What can we believe? In January 2016, the U. S. News & World Report listed scores of the most common diets based on a scale from 0 to 5. The Paleo diet had a 2.0 overall score. On weight loss, it scored 1.9. The score for healthy eating was 2.1, and the magazine ranked “ease to follow” at 1.7.

The magazine rated thirty-eight diets, divided into nine categories. How did the Paleo Diet fare? For Best Overall Diet, it ranked number thirty-six, tied for next to last place with the Dukan Diet, and came in last for Best Weight-loss Diet. Not only that, to follow this diet requires more home preparation, thus more kitchen time ― a sparse commodity for busy families. It also tends to cost more.

Supporters of this diet claim it leads to a healthier, fitter, disease-free life. In actuality, it fails to provide a number of needed nutrients. Exclusion of dairy makes it difficult to get recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D. Limited grains and pulses (legumes) restrict needed fiber in the diet.

Before we embark on any diet plan, it’s wise to learn the pros and cons. When tempted to follow popular diets whose claims sound too good to be true, think again. They probably are.

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I am a longtime hot tea fan. For decades, anytime has been tea time for me. While others order a different favorite brew, as I do occasionally, I prefer black tea. Now comes evidence of my reward for my beverage choice. As little as one cup per day may improve health.

Tea contains flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids come from a broad category of non-nutritive phytochemicals found only in plants. These substances help to maintain health in varied ways. Other familiar phytochemicals include carotenoids, isoflavones, phenolic acids, and many more. It is estimated that hundreds of phytochemicals are yet to be identified. Tea has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids of any plant. The type and amount in tea varies depending on several factors.

While antioxidants are in a different category, some phytochemicals have antioxidant properties, meaning they can help prevent or delay damage to cells and tissues. Antioxidants are found in both plant and animal sources.

Green tea has more of the flavonoid called catechins. Black tea, which has been fermented or oxidized, contains more of the flavonoids theaflavins and thearubigins. Both are water-soluble and readily absorbed into the body. For maximum concentration of flavonoids, steep tea for at least one minute. The longer the brew time, the higher the concentration of flavonoids and increased health benefits.

How is tea effective in health promotion? Research shows several conditions affected by flavonoids and perhaps other unidentified phytochemicals.

  • Heart disease: Tea drinkers may be more than one-third less likely to have a heart attack. Calcium deposits are linked to heart disease and other cardiovascular events. Buildup of these deposits, associated with plaque development in coronary arteries, is less in those who drink tea.
  • Dementia: Older adults with high levels of calcium plaques in their arteries are more likely to develop dementia earlier than those without calcium buildup. As in heart disease, tea seems to decrease the accumulation.
  • Neurological conditions: Antioxidants in tea have possible neuroprotective agents and may prove to reduce risks for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Other diseases: Researchers have found favorable, but not conclusive, evidence of lower risks of skin disease, cancer, excessive weight, and other maladies in tea drinkers.

But is it the tea or something else? Although researchers have not found a direct relationship, tea drinkers tend to live healthier lifestyles. Whatever current and future findings, tea is a wholesome, inexpensive drink that contributes to a healthy diet.

Drink up!

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