Obesity a Disease? Come again?
Millions of Americans will go about their day carrying a disease. Many, if not most of them, won’t even know it! And in this case, they are literally carrying a whole lot of this disease around with them. I am referring to Obesity. Believe it or not, the American Medical Association has formally decided to recognize obesity as a disease. It took a huge jump from once being called a “major public health problem” to being labeled as a disease. One in three Americans now has this “disease”.
However, I beg to differ with the AMA. You cannot ignore the fact that Obesity is a major problem today, especially here in the good ole U S of A. One in three is a staggering number! The issue here doesn’t lie in the seriousness of the problem. The issue is with the label. Obesity is also known as the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Did you catch that very important word? PREVENTABLE. When I think of diseases, I think of things like Hepatitis, HIV, Cholera, Influenza, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid Fever. A common thread among most diseases is they are contagious. They can be spread through body fluids or mosquito bites. Obesity is 100% preventable. And guess what? If you find yourself in the obese category (a BMI of 30 or greater), you can choose to do something about it. There’s no need for drugs, vaccines, or rubber gloves. What’s the magic solution? Exercise more and eat less! It isn’t rocket science. Even though it isn’t complicated, that does not mean that it’s easy. It is very doable.
As you read this, you may be thinking, “Man, I’m glad I’m not obese. I may be a tad overweight, but definitely not obese!” Not to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s a good chance you’re wrong (at this point, you may also be thinking…”This guy is a real jerk!”. Maybe, but like most things, you can’t expect to begin solving a problem unless you know you have one. Getting the facts is more important than maintaining happy feelings). Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. I am 5′ 10″ in height. My current weight is 157 pounds. That gives me a Body Mass Index of 22.5. That puts me in the upper half of the normal range (18.5 – 24.9). Instead of calling it “normal”, let’s say I’m in the range of where I should be. Let’s face it, obesity has quickly become the norm, so normal isn’t exactly what we are going for here. Most people that know me would say that I look thin. I maintain I still have plenty of body fat that I could lose; and here’s my proof. According to the BMI calculator, I could lose close to 30 pounds more and still be in that healthy weight range for a person of my height (weighing 129 with a BMI of 18.5). Let’s head the other direction. How much could I weigh before I am considered overweight? 173 pounds. And at what point would I be considered obese? 209 pounds. So…if you are 5′ 10″ and weigh 209 pounds or more…you are considered obese according to the BMI scale. I have found that much of the problem is that being overweight/obese has become the norm. So, if someone is on their way to losing weight by shedding the pounds, often they will hear comments like, “You are skinny!”, “You need to start eating more”, and “You look great the way you are.” We live in a society in which people are more concerned for your feelings than for your health and safety. You may be getting comments like that but still have 20 pounds to lose before you enter a healthy weight range. Don’t let others keep you from getting there! If you’d like to find out what your BMI is, check out this link where you can enter in your own height and weight to get personalized results. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm
If you find yourself discouraged after checking your BMI, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Remember, even though the AMA now considers obesity a disease, you can do something about it. Millions of people around the world have cancer and fight it day after day after day; some of them knowing full well they won’t win the fight. We have no exact cure for cancer. Why is it then that so many Americans wake up every day obese and do nothing about it? They too are dying, yet not from a disease they didn’t choose, but from one they did choose (over time) They are killing themselves. So, let today be the day you begin to fight for your life. Start getting active. Start keeping a log of your food intake, and eat less of it. Make healthier choices in what you put into your body. If you’d like help, we’d love to talk with you. Call us at 260-768-4333 for information on our weight loss program, and begin your journey back to a healthier you today!
– Aaron Waggoner, Director of Public Relations & Fitness