You’ll notice among the elderly that obesity isn’t that common. Why is that? Typically people suffering from excess adipose tissue (fat) rarely make it into their golden years. They rob themselves of their longevity by failing to maintain their health.

Obesity seems to be a growing epidemic in the western hemisphere. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity and continue to rise. (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2015) The estimated annual medical costs in the United States due to the obese population costs over 147 billion dollars. Obese patients typically pay over $1429 more annually compared to patients of normal weight.

In children, the prevalence of obesity has remained fairly stable at about 17% and affects about 12.7 million children. Childhood obesity continues to be a serious problem in the United States, putting kids at risk for poor health.

What are the health risks of being obese?

People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia) or fat in the blood
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers including endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

What steps can I take to reduce these health risks? I don’t want to die so young!

  1. To be successful with the start of any new life event, you must be committed. Commit to yourself, to your family, to the ones you love.
  2. Develop a plan with some short and long term goals
  3. To stick with your plan, you need to be consistent! Consistency is key!
  4. Don’t do diets! Diets fail. You will fail. You will gain the weight back.
  5. If you are obese and want to lose the fat, then you will need to change your lifestyle completely. I mean never looking back and going back to the same routine of poor nutrition and poor habits.
  6. If you are not active and don’t work out, then start slow. This needs to be realistic. Starting too much, too fast will only discourage you.
  7. Eating healthy doesn’t mean only eating salads and vegetables. Only fat people on diets eat salads. If you eat right, you will be eating more quantity and more often. You will not starve. Trust me.
  8. If you have type 2 diabetes from being obese, you are becoming insulin resistant and run the risk of having a stroke if it is not controlled. Take the steps now.
  9. Stop making excuses for not exercising and for poor eating.
  10. Now, if you eat right and exercise, your body will do the rest. When it’s all over and you’re healthy and fit, ask yourself….”Did you die??”

**Random fun fact: Fat mostly leaves the body through the lungs. We breathe it out. (The more you know!)


Jamie Bernau

Personal Trainer, on-line coach

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