October 2012
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Obesity – The American Menace

According to the World Health Organization, over 500 million people worldwide are obese. According to the CDC, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese and 17% of children aged 2—19 years are obese. These numbers are shocking and they are all continually rising. There are only so many people who can get bariatric surgery so it’s time to discuss what the average obese person can do to change.

Here are some options available for those looking to lose weight and get healthy.

Exercise

In lieu of surgery, the next best thing someone can do is to exercise regularly. Physical activity is an essential element of health and the less you do it, the more the body falls apart and stores fat. According to the CDC, adults should exercise for at least 30 minutes each day five days a week, while children should exercise at least 60 minutes every day. The number of ways you can exercise is endless and includes tons of fun activities, such as:

• Going for a bike ride

• Taking a hike

• Swimming the length of a pool

• Joining a sports team or league

• Kayaking, rowing or paddling a boat

• Riding a horse

• Skateboarding

• Jumping rope

Nutrition

The basic building block of health is putting healthy food into your body. So many people eat processed foods, fast food, and large quantities of food that it becomes all too easy to gain weight and never get rid of it. Some helpful tips:

• Before food shopping, write down healthy meal ingredients and needs.

• Make meals at home more often.

• Eat lots of whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

• Stick to safe portion sizes. No more super-sizing!

Surgery

There are various kinds of surgeries that fall under this label, but they’re all about doing the same thing – helping a patient lose weight. You’ve probably heard of some of them, including:

Gastric Bypass – A pouch is created in the stomach that bypasses a large portion of the stomach, making it smaller and limiting what a person can eat.

Lap Band – A surgeon places a gastric band around the upper part of the stomach, reducing its size.

Gastric Sleeve – A portion of the stomach that secretes hunger hormones is removed, limiting the amount of food someone can and wants to eat.

These surgeries are only recommended for people who have a BMI of 40 or greater, which is 100 pounds overweight for a man and 80 pounds overweight for a woman. Bariatric surgery also seems to be an effective way to cut down on national healthcare costs as patients will often not need to purchase medicines and healthcare related to obesity in the future.

It’s not easy to lose weight, especially when you’re obese. But each day adds up and you can leave obesity behind eventually.

Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.

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