Monday, August 9, 2010

Our #1 Health Problem (from Taste of Health January 2010)

At the rate Americans are packing on the pounds, more than half of the population of certain states could be obsess (30 pounds or more above recommended weight) within a decade. And 43 percent of American adults are at risk for obesity no matter where they live.

“Obesity is going to be a leading driver in rising healthcare costs,” Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, recently told ABC News. Obesity leads to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. It’s expected to cost the U.S. about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018.

“The accumulation of excess body fat and not simply excess weight,” obesity is best treated with a “plant-based diet and the seamless integration of increased physical activity and social support to alter modern diets and lifestyles”, says David Heber, MD, PhD, FACP, FACN, professor and founding director at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. He specifically blames our tendency to consume “highly palatable foods with hidden fats and sugars,” rather than “fruits and vegetables with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.”

While recognizing that certain individuals are more susceptible than others, Harvard University researchers recommend prioritizing lifestyle interventions. This country’s skyrocketing medical costs won’t decline until Americans make serious efforts to slim down by improving their diet and exercise patterns,” adds health economist Eric Finklelstein.

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