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Current Statistics on Obesity in the United States

Although issues of obesity are bad all around the world, this health problem has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, leading to a huge rise in heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and various forms of cancer.    It is important for Americans to understand the severity of the problem so they will be encouraged to make major, lifestyle changes.

Going back 35 years ago, the increase of obesity and overweight people has been dramatic, not just for adults, but also children.  For instance, among adults aging from 20 to 74 years of age, the increase is close to 33%!  Then for children between the ages of two and five, the percentage is 14%, for ages six to eleven almost 19%, and for teenagers from twelve to nineteen years of age, more than 17%.  As you can see by these numbers, the weight problem in the US is staggering.

As a result, from such increases, the health of people in the United States is taking its toll.  In addition to not looking very good, obesity also creates issues with the mind such as depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, and so on.  Even worse, health is hit hard, increasing the risk of many different diseases and conditions, some of which include:

• Gallbladder Disease
• Coronary Heart Disease
• Diabetes
• Sleep Apnea
• Osteoarthritis
• High Blood Pressure
• High Cholesterol
• Stroke
• Various forms of Cancer
With such as serious problem currently and numbers growing, health organizations and professionals around the country are working together to devise a plan that by 2010, obesity would see a reduction by 15%.  The challenge is that even with more and more plans being created, healthier diets being introduced, and medications formulated to help with obesity, the numbers continue to climb.

More than focusing on the numbers on the scale, the Body Mass Index, or BMI, is what is being carefully monitored.  With this, a person can determine the percentage of fat that makes up the body.  When numbers are 18.5 and below, you are actually considered underweight.  Numbers of 18.5 to 24.9 falls within the normal weight category.  However, overweight would be considered 25 to 29.9 and anything over 30 is obesity.  Keep in mind that the higher the number the greater the health risks.

To determine your BMI, you can visit any of the following websites that offer free BMI calculators, giving you much better insight into your current position.

• http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi
• http://www.halls.md/body-mass-index/bmi.htm
• http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/tl/cl/bmi/bmi.jsp
• http://www.bmi-calculator.net

Statistically, studies show that today, more than 3.8 million people in this country weigh 300 pounds or more!  For women, the average weight is 163 pounds but the most shocking information that came out of these studies is that 400,000 people, primarily men, weigh 400 pounds and higher.  These numbers are alarming, showing that the population in the United States is in serious condition and something needs to be done now.

Okay, so if you are carrying around too much weight, what can you do?  The good news is that you can do a lot!  For starters, you need to get on a healthy diet, one consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and little dairy.  With a better diet, you can begin to lose weight.  As a part of this change, you also want to make sure you drink more water, a minimum of six to eight hours a day, and eat foods high in fiber to give you a feeling of being full.

Additionally, adding a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise to your daily regimen will also be highly beneficial.  The best type of exercise is anything aerobic such as biking, hiking, walking, jogging, swimming, skiing, etc.  In other words, any exercise that will help your heart reach its maximum performance level is good.  Although you will need to start slow, with time and determination, you will start to drop pounds and tone up muscles.  The bottom line is that while obesity is a constant threat, making change will put you back in control, allowing you to live a long, healthy life.

If you are a parent and struggle from being overweight or obese, you have the perfect opportunity to be a living example to your children.  By eating right and exercising, your children will see your determination and dedication, encouraging them to do the same.  The result is breaking the obesity cycle that continues to grow in this country.  Stop the purchase of fast food, no more junk and sugary snacks, and make exercise fun.  The entire family could join a gym, take up swimming, or do some type of activity fun for everyone.  The bottom line is that you can make a change for you and future generations.
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