Obesity, The Silent Killer

I asked my good friend Jessica if she could do a write up for a blog involving a very serious issue our country is facing... Obesity!! Please read the following post from Jess and use this as motivation to lead a healthier life style or to get in shape. As noted below, Jessica is in her third year of medical school and if you would like more clarification on this topic, please feel free to comment below and I'll be sure she gets your questions!! Thanks again to Jess for the write up and hope this is of help to you all!!

Obesity: The Silent Killer

Jessica Williams, 3rd year medical student, Emory University School of Medicine

There’s a frightening new trend in our society that many of us may not be aware of, despite the fact that it stares us in the mirror each and every morning. That’s right, I’m talking about obesity.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. In essence, it means that a person has too much body fat in proportion to their height. The rates of obesity in this country are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in the southern United States and among the African-American and Latino population. Check out these statistics from the CDC:

Some potential causes of the obesity epidemic include more sedentary lifestyles and increased fast food intake in comparison to previous generations. Obesity is also linked to alcohol consumption and certain forms of depression. Obesity puts people at risk for a whole host of diseases, including gallstones, liver disease, osteoarthritis, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and even certain cancers.

So what can we do about it? Here are some suggestions to prevent obesity:

-Avoid saturated fats and limit cholesterol and salt intake

-Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, olive oil, and whole-grain carbohydrates

-Drink alcohol in moderation (up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men)

-Exercise at least 150 minutes per week  

-Take the stairs whenever possible

-Drink plenty of water; avoid sweetened and carbonated beverages

Obesity is certainly a major problem in our society, but it is one that we can readily solve. We must first examine our own lifestyles and make the necessary changes to live full, healthy lives.

Below is a link to the CDC website section on obesity, which includes a BMI calculator.