• Angel Alfaro | MD

Obesity Rates for Women Worsen


You may have heard of the article that discusses the obesity rates in the United States that was published this week in The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) (1). This study analyzes data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and shows that the prevalence of obesity in adults from 2013 to 2014 was 35% in men and 40.4% among women and the rate of class 3 obesity (body mass index of 40 to 49.9) was 5.5% in men and 9.9% in women, which is an increase in the rate of obesity for women, but not for men.

As for children and teens, the obesity rate decreased for children ages 2-5 but really did not change much for other age groups in the analysis 1988-1994 through 2013-2014 (2). Not great news considering the increased national attention to increasing physical activity and changes to the school lunch program.

So what? How does this affect us? What do we do with this information? Is there any hope to this epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, heart failure and cancer?

Per the National Center for Health Statistics in 2014, the estimated life expectancy for men is till age 76.4 and for women till age 81.2 (3). So statistically we are living longer, however, that does not mean we are living better. It is estimated that about 75% of the chronic diseases we face are lifestyle related. This means how we eat, exercise, relax (or don’t), sleep (or don’t) and play can and truly does affect our health outcomes.

Again, I ask…what to do? Do you wait for the government to do something or do you take a personal approach to improve or maintain your health?

But dieting is hard you say…. I couldn’t agree with you more. We should STOP dieting!

Really, you heard me correctly… STOP Dieting.

Every diet has special rules, when you mess up and don’t follow the rules, frustration sets in. Because you had a bad day at work or a late night at a school function and go off the wagon, doesn’t mean you need to beat yourself up.

It seems the current trend is to eat naturally. If you haven’t heard of him before, I suggest you take a look at Michael Pollen and his book “Food Rules”.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

This small easy to read book really helps to hammer out some easy to follow rules when it comes to food. One of my personal favorites is that “you can eat anything you want as long as you make it from scratch.” Let’s think about this…How often would you find yourself eating biscuits, donuts, ice cream, potato chips, M&Ms etc, if you had to make it all yourself.

The basic premise for most nutritionists and real life people is to try to eat nutrient dense whole foods while restricting less calorie dense items. What a minute..restrictions…sounds like a diet. No…restrictions are like common sense. You wouldn’t go outside in zero degrees with a bikini on, right? Is that a clothing diet or just common sense? What if you couldn’t limit your children’s time on electronic devices? Is that a parenting diet or just common sense? I think you understand what I am trying to say. Restrictions are a part of life. If you do anything without limits there will be consequences and we (all of us) must start to take responsibility. We are the masters of our domain and must make responsible choices everyday.

There are so many different “diet” choices and the reality is that you have a life to live, remember. At least until your late 70’s, some into the 80’s and some into the 90’s and above. So stop dieting and start living.

Thank you for visiting the blog, there is so much information I want to share and I hope we’ll grow and learn together. I’m excited to hear about your progress with last week’s commitment. Do you get in more physical activity? Have you set some goals yet? I hope you have, if not it is never too late.

I have been running all week, though one day I did just walk, in all honesty my legs were a little sore.

Will you commit to thinking before you eat this week? Consider eating wholesome foods and restricting highly processed and sugared foods? Did you know there will be new nutritional labels coming soon? Take a look at a food label, do you see total sugar listed in the top section (not the ingredient section)? We’ll talk about that next time.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Wellness Updates (top right of the blog) so you’ll be notified of new content and not miss out on the conversation.

Live Well,

Dr. A

References

1. Flegal KM, Kruszon-Moran D, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Trends in Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA. 2016;315(21):2284-2291.

2. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA. 2014;311(8):806-814.

3. Health United States, 2015. US Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf#019


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