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Will All Americans Be Fat in 40 Years?

August 28, 2008 | 23,189 views
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fat, obesityIf the trends of the past three decades continue, it’s possible that every American adult could be overweight by 2048. The figure might sound impossible, but two-thirds of the population is already overweight.

The new projections are based on government survey data collected between the 1970s and 2004. If the trends of those years continue, the researchers estimate that 86 percent of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51 percent. By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight.

The health care costs directly related to excess pounds would also double each decade, reaching $957 billion in 2030 and accounting for one of every six health care dollars spent in the United States.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This may sound extreme, but 50 years ago who would have thought that two-thirds of the population would be overweight?

Obesity has been named the fastest growing health threat in the United States, and as I said two-thirds of adults are already overweight or obese. Among some groups the rates are even higher, such as African-American women, of whom 78 percent are currently overweight or obese.

Is it possible to be healthy and overweight? Yes, just as it’s possible to be thin and unhealthy. But for the vast majority of those who carry around extra pounds, health problems will result.

In fact, back in 2002 the Social Security Administration projected that the maximum human lifespan would reach 100 in roughly six decades. Now it’s been suggested that by the middle of this century, the increased risk of obesity-caused diabetes, heart disease and cancer could lower the average U.S. life expectancy by as much as five years.

If this obesity epidemic is not reversed we will, for the first time in history, see children living shorter lives than their parents.

I think the health risks of obesity are fairly well-known by now -- obese adults tend to have higher rates of high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, cancer and diabetes, despite a large number being on costly medications to treat those very problems.

The side effects alone from all of these medications can prove to be overwhelming to your system, but even after adjusting for "traditional" risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, obese adults also face increased risks of:
  • Silent vascular disease (blood vessel disease that causes no symptoms)
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Thicker heart walls
What’s Causing So Many People to be Overweight?

There are so many theories about this that it’s mind-boggling, but when you start to have entire populations tipping the scales toward obesity, it does suggest that something big is going on.

Among the theories that are, in my opinion, most plausible are the following:

1. The modern-day food system: It encourages eating big portions of high-fructose corn syrup, refined grains, processed foods and artificial sweeteners, a perfect recipe for weight gain.

2. Sedentary lifestyles: Generations ago people had no choice but to exercise; they did it for their very livelihoods or at least to get from one place to another. Today, many people sit behind a desk for most of the day, then get in their cars to drive home. Leisure time involves more sitting, either in front of the TV, computer or video game system.

3. Stress and negative emotions: It is very easy to get caught up in using food as a security blanket, a distraction from boredom, or a way to cope with stress -- and once you get used to using food to feel better, it’s hard to break the routine.

4. Exposure to environmental pollutants: Exposure to low levels of pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents may make you put on weight.

5. The make-up of bacteria in your gut: This is related to your diet, but if you eat a lot of sugar and grains, it can negatively influence the bacteria in your gut and contribute to obesity.

6. Lack of sleep: This disrupts vital hormones and proteins in your body, which may also increase your risk of obesity.

I don’t believe that bad genes play a major role. I am firm proponent of epigenetic medicine and believe we have enormous influence over the expression of our genetic code.

Your genes are merely dumb storage facilities that do very little to influence your health. It is the actual expression of your genes, through emotions and lifestyle that determines your health. This is GREAT news as otherwise you'd be helpless to do anything about your health, which, of course, isn't true at all.

Something either sets your gene off or keeps it dormant, and your mind actually gets the deciding vote.

So don’t let anyone tell you that you’re destined to be fat or unhealthy in any way. Even though on some level fighting obesity is a societal issue, when it comes down to it losing weight is something you have to do on your own.

Are You Ready to Lose Weight?

Making up your mind to do it is half the battle. From there, it’s just a matter of changing your lifestyle in the following ways:

1. Tailor your diet to your nutritional type. These are the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).

2. View exercise as a drug. When you’re trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that. Sometimes you may need even up to 90 minutes of aerobic activity every day.

There is also strong compelling evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss.

3. Let go of your emotional blocks. Tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating is more complex, and an experienced EFT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of your deeper emotional issues.

If you’re already at a healthy weight, and want to stay that way, cutting out 100 calories per day, either by diet or exercise, is enough to prevent weight gain in most people.

[+] Sources and References