OBESITY - A DISEASE
Obesity is emerging as a health epidemic around the world. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is rapidly spreading across all regions and demographic groups. For example, an estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. That figure represents more than 50% of the American adult population. Of this group, 11 million adults suffer from severe obesity.
In New Zealand, 32% of adults (aged 15 years and over) are obese, and a further 34% are overweight but not obese. We have the third highest obesity rate in the OECD and our rates are rising.
Click here to find out more about Body Mass Index BMI.
Causes of Obesity
- The genes you inherited from your parents
- How well your body turns food into energy
- Your eating and exercising habits
- Your surroundings
- Psychological factors
Consequences of Obesity
If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have:
Major health risks
- Shorter Life Expectancy
- Compared to people of normal weight, obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of dying prematurely
- Obese people have more risk for: - Diabetes (type 2) - Joint problems (e.g., arthritis) - High blood pressure - Heart disease - Gallbladder problems - Certain types of cancer (breast, uterine, colon) - Digestive disorders (e.g., gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD) - Breathing difficulties (e.g., sleep apnea, asthma) - Psychological problems such as depression - Problems with fertility and pregnancy - Urinary Incontinence
Dieting, exercise, and medication have long been regarded as the conventional methods to achieve weight loss. Sometimes, these efforts are successful in the short term. However, for people who are morbidly obese, the results rarely last. For many, this can translate into what's called the "yo-yo syndrome," where patients continually gain and lose weight, with the possibility of serious psychological and health consequences. Recent research reveals that conventional methods of weight loss generally fail to produce permanent weight loss. Several studies have shown that patients on diets, exercise programs, or medication are able to lose approximately 10% of their body weight but tend to regain two-thirds of it within one year, and almost all of it within five years**. Another study found that less than 5% of patients in weight loss programs were able to maintain their reduced weight after five years*.