Obesity in America: New Projections and New Solutions


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Obesity is a term that means you have a body mass index of 30 or higher. It makes you more likely to develop certain medical conditions and to die sooner. Ivanhoe reports on new statistics.

The number of obese Americans has reached epidemic proportions and a new projection shows it’s likely to get worse!

A team of scientists analyzed more than 20 years of data and found by 2030, nearly one in two adults will be obese. Also nearly one in four will be severely obese. Obesity contributes to many serious medical conditions, including: heart disease, stroke, cancer, type-two diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and asthma.

“People can lose weight, but then you have to maintain it, and so lifestyle is just an absolute key component,” explained Priscilla Hollander, MD, from Baylor University Medical Center.

Of course, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise are the best ways to combat obesity. Some experts have also encouraged efforts to tax unhealthy foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. It’s worked in cities like Philadelphia where a soda tax of 1.5 cents an ounce went into effect three years ago. Total purchases declined by 38 percent! And with one-third of meals being eaten out, restaurants can help by offering fewer processed foods with lower amounts of sugar, salt, and fat. And there’s good news …

“Surprisingly, you get the greatest bang for your buck at a five percent weight loss,” shared Samuel Klein, MD, a gastroenterologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The new analysis, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also revealed severe obesity will become the most common weight category among women, non-Hispanic black adults and low-income adults in the U.S.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #2755

BACKGROUND: Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk for many diseases and health conditions. In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese, and another 32.5 percent are overweight. Around 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. However, the good news is obesity rates among preschool children have been falling in recent years. Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. What is known as body mass index, or BMI, is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters. The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. It seems globally there is an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars; and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.

(Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/obesity-facts#1 and https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight)

CONSEQUENCES AND PREVENTION: Some consequences of being overweight or obese are: cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke; diabetes; musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis which is a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints; and some cancers including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon. Childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. These children can also experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects. There are preventative measures that can be taken, such as supportive environments and communities to help shape people’s choices when it comes to choosing healthier foods and regular physical activity. An individual can limit energy intake from total fats and sugars; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults).

(Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight)

NEW WEIGHT-LOSS DEVICE SHOWS PROMISE: Gelesis100 (Plenity), was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is an exciting innovation in weight management. It comes in capsule form and is actually a weight loss device, not a medication. The capsules are filled with hydrogel particles. You take it with a full glass of water before meals. The particles expand in the stomach and take up space, leading to the sensation of fullness. The particles then move through the intestinal trac and are broken down by enzymes and excreted. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial about 60% of those who followed a diet and exercise plan plus took Plenity lost 5% or more of their initial weight. And about 25% of those who took it were high responders, losing 10% or more of initial weight. There were no treatment-related serious adverse events that occurred. This is not being considered a cure for obesity, rather a first-of-its-kind treatment because of how it will fit into the landscape of weight reduction treatments.

(Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-fda-approved-weight-loss-device-shows-promise-2019072917362)

* For More Information, Contact:

Judy Martin Finch, Director, Media Relations, Wash. Univ. School of Medicine/St. Louis


(314) 286-0105

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