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    Obesity - America's National Disaster

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    New numbers revealed by the National Center for Health Statistics show that the number of American adults who are obese now is much larger than of those who are simply overweight. According to the most recent statistics from the federal government more than 34 percent of Americans suffer from obesity compared to 32.7percent who are merely overweight (which is up from 23 percent in a similar study done in 1988 through 1994). And 6 percent were reported to be "extremely" obese. "More than one-third of adults, or over 72 million people, were obese in 2005-2006," the NCHS, part of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in its report, "Although the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980, the prevalence of overweight has remained stable over the same time period."

    These numbers were based on a survey of 4,356 people over the age of 20 who took part in a regular survey of health conducted by the government. Household interviews and physical examinations were conducted for each survey participant. During the physical examination, conducted in mobile examination centers, obesity and overweight have been calculated using a formula called body mass index. The formula is used to determine whether someone is over or underweight or within a normal weight range. BMI is equal to weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29 are considered as overweight, 30 to 40 counts as obese and those and those with 40 or more are considered morbidly obese. For example, a person 5 ft.5 inches tall becomes overweight at 150 pounds (68 kilograms), and obese at 180 pounds (82 kilograms).

    People who are obese or just overweight have a higher risk of developing multiple health concerns: diseases of the heart, diabetes, stroke, some forms of cancer, arthritis, osteoarthritis and many other conditions. Thousands obese people die yearly from complications associated with Type II diabetes and coronary heart disease cancer. Fatness is raising up health costs and damages the national economy. With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, employees cost private employers in this country about 45 billion dollars in medical expenses and work loss each year. Researchers found that the worker's compensation claim rate for the employers with heavy weight is 2 times more than that of the workers with normal weight. The number of workdays missed by overweight workers was 13 times higher and the insurance claims costs were 11 times higher than those of the workers with normal weight. The weight issue has become a big problem even in the U.S. Army. Over the last 4 years the army rejected almost 48.000 potential recruits due to their overweight. The head of the U.S. Army recruiting command even joked about opening a fat farm where fat and out-of-shape soldiers-to-be can be whipped and brought into a shape that is required to meet the Army's weight and fitness standards.

    In May, the CDC reported that 32 percent of America's children now fit the definition of being overweight while 16 percent are obese and 11 percent are morbidly obese. Childhood and adult obesity has become a huge problem not only in the United States but also in many other countries all over the world.The numbers come from the 2005-2006 survey. They are the most current available, but naturally, could have inflated steadily since.

    So what exactly is needed to solve this major tragedy of obesity?

    The massive weight-loss industry offers us slim-down products that appear everywhere: on TV commercials, in magazines, on different websites, etc. Some of the products, like diet pills promise even that the weight will be lost right away, in hours. We constantly hear that to obtain a slim figure a proper nutrition and work out are necessary. But despite all only 5% of attempts to lose weight and maintain it end in success, according to FDA. America's problem is that all this is aimed on individual weight loss and not on American lifestyle in general, which is fast food on the first place as well as shopping online, quick dinners in front of television, eating in movie theaters, etc. In short, the lifestyle that is very comfortable. But it is important to understand all the dangerous consequences of such a lifestyle and start to center social events around "active fun" like long walks or dancing instead of over sized, fried meals and alcohol. People need to make nourishment - not gluttony - a priority of eating once again. And latte lunch breaks is better to substitute with exercise breaks especially for people leading a sedentary way of life. Every person, no matter overweight or slim, needs to understand it and try to change his/hers lifestyle.

    "We now believe that in 2009, there is an ever greater percentage of those who walk like inflated penguins, no longer being able to put their feet together", stated Dr. Tush, who led the earlier research and still has his nightmares to prove it."In my dreams, I'm usually in an elevator and huge, fat people keep trying to squeeze in...till I can't breathe and I can't get off."

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