We hear the word Obesity on a regular basis and many people surprisingly are not aware of the seriousness of the obesity epidemic that has fast become a global problem. Prior to the 20th century obesity was a rare occurrence rather than the “norm”. It has now become one of our top public health concerns.
There are over 1 billion adults all over the world that are overweight with at least 300 million of these adults diagnosed with clinical obesity. This is not to mention the now rapidly growing population of obese children.
So why many would ask, is such a serious problem? Well it has serious social, psychological and more importantly physical consequences. Obesity places pressure on health care services and leads to a rise in diet related chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, High blood pressure, Sleep Apnea or difficulty breathing, depression and cancer. I often wonder if we could see our insides in the mirror if we would be less inclined to continue with our unhealthy choices!
Obesity is measured by BMI or body mass index which is the individuals body mass divided by the square of his or her height. If your BMI is above 25 but below 30 it is considered overweight, between 30 to 39 is obese and over 40 is considered morbidly obese at which time the risk of severe life threatening health problems increases threefold. BMI is not usually used without other clinical observations.
The cause of this rise in obesity is due to increased availability and consumption of high levels of sugar and saturated fats and a reduction in physical activity. Our modern lifestyle is killing us! We are eating more and doing less. Our kids are spending less time outside playing and competing in sports and more time in front of the television and computer games.
We have less time to prepare food from fresh, raw healthy ingredients and why would you when the ready prepared meals are so cheap and convenient? Many people blame obesity on the individual and believe if they tried hard enough they could just lose the weight. But it is more than that.
It is the messages of advertising and marketing for unhealthy products that are laden with fats, sugars and hidden products that we then get the taste for. Our children are exposed to junk food on a daily basis instead of only being available occasionally for treats.
Our lack of time in our modern lifestyle where we work longer hours in often stressful environments all directly or indirectly contribute to the increase in obesity.
So what can we do about this? Instead of bombarding people with expensive fad diets and gym subscriptions that don’t offer long-term health there is a need for education about food and exercise. Promote healthy behavior to encourage and motivate people to lose weight. It is important to start with our children as they are so impressionable and often do not have the knowledge about what is making them obese.
Diet needs to be realistic and sustainable with exercise being part of our everyday routine. Even just 30 minutes of medium intensity exercise every day will make a difference. Cut out the processed foods and go back to having lean protein and lots of fruit and fresh vegetables. Do not deprive yourself of everything, as you will not succeed. It’s amazing how hard it is to cut out the sugar from our diet as it is in everything we eat and can become very addictive! Especially when we are feeling low in energy and in a hurry with no time to prepare.
Preparation is the key to success. If you are organized with your food and make extra salad or cook extra protein at dinner time that you can take for lunch for example. It becomes almost a habit. We are role models for our children so they will watch and follow. Make their exercise enjoyable in the form of bike riding or playing at the park or a sport they enjoy. There are no miracle cures or diets it can be done at home but if you need ongoing support there are many groups or dieticians that offer this.
Try some of our eFit30 thirty-minute exercise sessions at home at your own convenience. It doesn’t matter what the time is or if the kids are at home you fit it in when it is convenient for you.