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Celebrate Healthy Weight Week Jan. 15-21
Health advice
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Jan. 15-21 is Healthy Weight Week and this year’s theme is “Forget the Diet:  Eat Well and Live Lively”. So, if you’re thinking of going on a diet, re-evaluate that decision.
Most diets result in ineffective, short-term weight loss with the individuals quickly gaining back lost pounds when they revert back to old habits. Dieting often disrupts normal eating patterns, creates preoccupation with food and can result in malnutrition or eating disorders.
Instead, choose to eat well, live actively, and feel good about yourself. If you eat well and become more physically active, excess weight will come off naturally. The key is to stay active. It takes time, but this is the healthy and lasting way to lose weight and to stay.
Eating normally typically includes three nutritious meals a day with breakfast being very important. Include one or two nutritious snacks to satisfy your hunger. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.
According to former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, an “obesity epidemic “ threatens public health in the United States. Most often caused by too many calories and too little physical activity, obesity can lead to several serious and sometimes fatal diseases.
During the past three decades, obesity has tripled for children and teenagers, increasing to the point where 15 percent are overweight and another 15 percent are at risk. Youth obesity, now skyrocketing out of control, is associated with increases in high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes; and today’s obese youth are more likely to become obese adults. Data in 1999 showed that 61 percent of adults in the United States were overweight or obese. The increases in overweight and obesity cuts across all ages, racial and ethnic groups, and both genders.
Maintaining a healthy weight can increase life expectancy, quality of life, and physical and mental wellbeing. As an individual, you can help maintain a healthy weight by eating the recommended number of calories each day and getting regular exercise. Communities can promote healthy weight by establishing safe areas for children to play, ensuring that school lunches are healthy, and encouraging physical activity for residents.
There are many factors that contribute to causing obesity - some are modifiable while others are not. The factor that you can’t changes is genetics but you can modify the factors listed below and they will, in turn, impact the genetic factor:
• Physical activity: Lack of regular exercise.
• Sedentary behavior: High frequency of television viewing, computer usage, and similar behavior that takes up time that can be used for physical activity.
• Socioeconomic status: Low family incomes and non-working parents.
• Eating Habits: Over-consumption of high-calorie foods. Some eating patterns that have been associated with this behavior are eating when not hungry, eating while watching TV or doing homework.
• Environment: One example is the over-exposure to advertising of foods that promote high-calorie foods and lack of recreational facilities.
If you are overweight, losing as little as five percent of your body weight may lower your risk for several diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing 10 pounds. Slow and steady weight loss of one half to two pounds per week, and not more than three pounds per week, is the safest way to lose weight.
To lose weight and keep it off over time, try to make long-term changes in your eating and physical activity habits. Choose healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat meat and dairy products. Eat more often and eat just enough food to satisfy you. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity — like walking — on most days of the week, preferably every day. To lose weight, or to maintain weight loss, you may need to do more than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.
People with unchecked obesity are at risk of developing one or more serious medical conditions, which can result in poor health and premature death. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity. The risk of death rises with increasing weight. Individuals who are obese (body mass index over 30) have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death from all causes, compared to individuals with a healthy weight. Obesity is associated with more than 30 medical conditions, and scientific evidence has established a very strong relationship with at least 15 of them. Weight loss of about 10 percent of body weight, for persons with overweight or obesity, can improve some obesity-related medical conditions including diabetes and hypertension.
Weighing “too much” may increase your risk for developing many health problems; among them are:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart disease
• Cancer  
• Sleep apnea
• Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
• Gallbladder disease and gallstones
• Fatty liver disease
• Reproductive complications  
Other obesity-related conditions include: impaired immune response, impaired respiratory function, infertility, low joint and back pain, obstetric and gynecologic complications, birth defects, gout, pancreatitis, urinary stress incontinence, abdominal hernias, endocrine abnormalities, depression, gastroesophageal reflux, heel spurs, lower extremity edema, skin damage, cervical pain, musculoskeletal disease, prostate cancer and hiatial hernia.
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