Obesity is a global epidemic in both adults and children. It is a major health problem in the United States, as one out of every three Americans is considered obese. Obesity is known to be a risk factor for many life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease (also referred to as cardiovascular or coronary artery disease). It is also known to increase the chances of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, and some forms of cancer.
Obesity in America: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 36.5% (one third) of U.S. adults are obese. The percentage of children and adolescents ages 2-19 is about around 17%, representing a number of 12.7 million!
With the increase in the obesity levels among American adults, heart disease is on the rise. The CDC reports that heart disease is the cause of one out of every four deaths in America, claiming about 610,000 lives annually.
What is obesity?
According to the CDC, weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity.
BMI is a formula that takes into account your height and weight. BMI indicating a healthy weight is between 18.5-24.9. A BMI between 25-29.9 is considered overweight, with obesity starting at a BMI over 30.
Abdominal, or belly fat, is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Waist circumference is the width of your waist slightly above the naval area. For men, if your waist is more than 40 inches, the risk of heart disease increases significantly. For women, the risk increases if your waist size is more than 35 inches.
Obesity and heart disease
Also, obesity can increase your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Obesity can also reduce your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can increase your blood pressure level, and might induce diabetes, which in some cases can worsen your risk factor for heart disease. Obesity is also known to enlarge the left ventricle (called left ventricular hypertrophy), which increases the risk of heart failure.
How to Lose Weight and Avoid Heart Disease
Those about to undergo a significant weight reduction program should do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure that safe, medically sound steps are followed. Core to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, however, are healthy eating habits and an overall wellness-oriented lifestyle.
Here are the basic guidelines
Meal prep! Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid unhealthy fast food lunches and takeout dinners.
Cut down on sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages – High amounts of sugar increases your overall weight and – more specifically – belly fat. Also, read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods for high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, and avoid when possible.
Add soluble fiber to your diet – Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a type of gel in your gut, which slows sugar absorption into your bloodstream, which helps your body store less fat.
Include protein in your diet – A high-protein diet can help in weight loss. Standard protein requirements are at least 50 grams a day for women; about 60 grams per day for men. Again, get advice from a healthcare professional before starting a weight-loss program to confirm if a high-protein diet would be beneficial for your individual health concerns and target goals.
Cut down on alcohol – Alcoholic drinks contain many more calories than most people think. A 20-ounce serving of beer can pack 250 calories, a 6-ounce glass of wine contains 120, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor contains about 100. And that’s without any sugary mixers.
Pay attention to carbohydrates – You don’t need to start on a zero-carb diet (which is taking the other, also unhealthy, extreme), but switch from refined carbohydrates to unprocessed carbs. This will not just decrease your weight; it can also improve your metabolic health.
Increase physical activity – You can start slowly, increasing your workout time to at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, every week. Or, a high-intensity aerobic exercise like jogging for 75 minutes every week (or a combination of both), as well as muscle-strengthening exercises. Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Get enough sleep – Sound sleep is not just important for your overall good health, it is also essential for your weight loss goal. If you are not able to sleep properly, you tend to gain more weight. This is because people tend to eat more when they don’t get adequate sleep.
Managing stress efficiently – Stress is part of daily life, and you need to find ways to manage it well. You can opt for meditation, exercise, or hobbies to alleviate your stress. Also, some people tend to overeat when they are under stress. It is important that you manage your stress so that you keep your focus firmly on your weight loss goal.
If you are ready to change your life – and your health – for the better, our experienced physicians at Solutions Weight Loss are here to provide you with an individual, medically supervised plan to help you meet your goals. We also apply advanced weight loss treatments and protocols that are not available over the counter. We welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.