Monday, June 17, 2013

Obesity: More than "being fat"

We all know that obesity is rising in the United States - in fact, currently over 1/3 of American adults are obese. Children aren't immune - currently about 1/4 of children in the US are obese as well. It is predicted that if we continue on the same trajectory that by 2030 more than half of American adults will be obese. 

Our jobs don't help - several popular occupations show a higher rate of obesity. These include manufacturing jobs and transportation jobs (truck and bus drivers). Our society as a whole has become more sedentary, and that also contributes to our expanding waistlines.

Despite those statistics, obesity is still commonly thought of as just "being fat" without as much thought as to what other side effects there can be. Our society has responded to obesity by creating bigger chairs, larger toilet stalls, plus sizes reaching far into the double digits and/or x's, stronger vehicles, and even larger portions to help curb bigger appetites. 

What are the side effects to obesity? Some of them are well-known, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and inflamed joints. Others you might be aware of, like difficulty sleeping, gallstones, and depression. But there are others that might surprise you: increased cancer risk, fertility issues,  being bullied in the doctor's office, and even getting paid less. Sadly, these side effects impact both children and adults, with obese children being more likely to become obese adults

One final statistic that impacts people across the globe is a frightening organ donation shortage. Obese individuals often do not have healthy enough organs to qualify for organ donation. 

What can we do about this? At Square One, we believe the first step is working toward better overall health. This includes eating healthier options and finding ways to add in more physical activity. Every step in the right direction counts, and we personally know how hard it is to achieve permanent weight loss when you start at a large weight. As we quoted today on our Facebook page, "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." 

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