A Fat, $100 Billion, Crisis

Obesity is now costing Americans $100 billion in health care expenditures, and causes more than 400,000 premature deaths each year. A number of studies have demonstrated links between obesity and a whole host of serious medical conditions, such as:


Gastro esophageal reflux

Sleep apnea



Gallbladder disease

Kidney disease


High blood pressure

High cholesterol

Coronary artery disease

Heart failure

Atrial fibrillation


Pulmonary hypertension

Blood clots


Numerous cancers

A 2007 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimates that 74 percent of American adults and 24 percent of American children will be overweight or obese by the year 2015.

The current statistics show 66 percent of adults and 16 percent of children are overweight or obese.

The cause for the dramatic rise in obesity since the 1970’s is thought to include:

  • Increased fast food consumption
  • Increased portion sizes of restaurant food and grocery products
  • Increased driving and computer use (sedentary activities)
  • Certain medications
  • Endocrine disorders and genetics
  • Changing social perceptions of what is "normal" weight 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health July 10, 2007

San Francisco Gate August 26, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The thing to remember when it comes to obesity is that weight control is not the rocket science some would lead you to believe. Sure, certain disorders and genetic predispositions can play a role, but the solution is still the same. Likewise with the massive meal portions and the availability of fast food, If you want to optimize your health and your weight, you must start taking charge of the choices you make.  

The answer is just that simple, and although it may not necessarily be easy, it is however, necessary. 

Why You Shouldn’t Care About the Latest Obesity Research 

Science has a tendency to flip-flop with the seasons. For example, they have already debunked the "bad genes" theory, showing that good nutrition can overcome this predisposition.

The International Journal of Obesity listed some of the more unusual obesity triggers last year:

  • Taking certain medications, including antipsychotics, high blood pressure drugs, protease inhibitors to treat HIV, and diabetes medications, including insulin. Even over-the-counter antihistamines have been linked to weight gain.
  • Exposure to environmental pollutants from pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents. Exposure to even low levels may make you put on weight.
  • Your mother was obese, or older than what is typically considered "normal" when she gave birth to you. Both have been linked to an increased risk of obesity for you.

But what are the answers to deal with these causes? Usually they’re surgical or pharmaceutical…  

Not only would drug interventions likely be loaded with their own side effects, but the vast majority of people CAN lose weight naturally if they put their mind (and body) to it.

And although Dr. Khazeni, who wrote the article, includes both drug therapy and bariatric surgery as weight loss options, I could not disagree more. I strongly believe that these alternatives are both dangerous and unnecessary, for a condition that can be dealt with in a completely safe and effective manner.

The Four Tenets of Optimal Health -- The Real Answer

The fact is that the four tenets of optimal health (and healthy weight) remain the same, regardless of the cause:

Remember, obesity is a direct result of poor dietary choices and insufficient exercise.

Unfortunately, the food industry, and government itself, don’t make it easy for you to avoid foods that ruin your health, as you can see in my previous article, How the Food Industry is Deceiving You. But it is possible to take self-responsibility and make better, healthier choices.  

By adhering to the basic four tenets of optimal health, you are safeguarding yourself against a multitude of the other health problems and serious diseases that follow in obesity’s wake.

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