Is fat the enemy? Well, too much body fat is a bad thing and can lead to obesity. However, we all need fat in our diets to protect our health. Fat stores energy, insulates the body and protects its’ organs. But, even though we need fat, too much of it is not a good thing. It can be the cause of some very severe health problems.
Weight gain and obesity are high on the list of primary health concerns in the developed world today. It is estimated that an alarming 109.5 million people are considered obese in the U.S. alone.
Harvard School of Public Health states that other than the use of tobacco, obesity accounts for the second greatest harm to the collective health in the U.S.
Here is a quote from one of their publications:
“In the U.S., among adults under the age of 70, obesity is second only to tobacco in the number of deaths it causes each year. As tobacco use continues to decline, and obesity rates continue to rise, the number of deaths due to obesity may soon exceed that of tobacco.”
It is alarming to see the long list of health problems that are related to obesity. Here is a list I compiled while researching the topic and I’m certain that I may have missed some of them.
Health Problems Related to Obesity
- shortness of breath
- difficulty in moving around
- increased cholesterol levels
- sleep apnea
- kidney stones
- heart disease
- swelling of feet and /or legs
- back pain
- knee pain
- high blood pressure
The cost of health care related to obesity in the U.S. in 2005 was estimated to be around $190 billion. Yes folks, that’s billion, not million. This includes medical care and prescription drugs for the treatment of obesity and the illnesses related to it.
The cost of obesity isn’t limited to the cost of medical treatment, however. There is the cost of days of work that are lost, higher insurance costs for employers which resuts in lower wages in order to cover those costs. It has also affected the recruitment for the armed forces since nearly 30 percent of young people in the U.S. are now considered too obese to serve in the armed forces.
Obesity isn’t limited to the U.S. only. Obesity has now become a global problem.
You would think that with all the media attention about obesity and the health problems associated with it, in addition to the fact that weight loss programs are available to every U.S. citizen, that this would not be such a serious problem.
What Is the Solution To the Problem of Obesity?
Why is it that more people are becoming obese? I don’t know the answer to that question. However, we can only take responsibility for our own health and try to have a positive influence on those we know personally.
One thing is for sure… obesity is a huge health risk and if you ignore your health, it will go away. So, begin making healthy lifestyle changes today and stay healthy… it’s the greatest wealth you can own.