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Fighting one of America's most dangerous conditions

We've all heard the statistics – North America is getting fatter with each generation, and it's starting to become a big public health problem. Obesity can cause several serious health diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Obesity in America is a problem, especially among children. Education and information is needed to help people get healthier and to prevent obesity from being the norm.

What is obesity?

Obesity refers to an excess of fatty tissue on a person's body. When someone is obese, their mortality is increased and they are at risk for a number of diseases. Overweight people have an excess of fat as well, but their risk is slightly lower than those who are obese. Obesity is mainly the result of not maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but genetics, medical conditions and social factors may also be factors.

There is a direct correlation between inactivity and an increase in weight. This is especially a problem with children – over half of today's children are not active enough for their age. They are simply not getting enough activity at school, and with the increase of parental paranoia for their safety, they're also not playing outside or walking enough. Childhood obesity can lead to health problems and reduced life expectancy. It is rare that an obese child will be a healthy adult without intervention.

According to the American Sports Data website, obesity statistics in America are climbing. Over 3.8 million people weigh over 300 pounds, and the average adult female weighs an average of 163 pounds. Over 400,000 people, mostly males, weigh over 400 pounds. This dangerous trend is alarming and it keeps growing.

Obesity Solutions

Thankfully, obesity is a problem that has a good chance of being solved with careful attention and a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Some solutions to obesity include:

  • Healthy diet plan, including home-cooked, low-fat meals with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week. Daily exercise is better.
  • Surgery, such as gastric bypass or gastric banding, which reduces the volume of the stomach so that less food will be consumed.
  • Counseling for psychological issues that lead to obesity.

In cases where diet and exercise won't work or the patient cannot undertake them, diet drugs are often used. However, the weight loss from these drugs is modest, and they are not readily available to people for whom dieting and exercise will yield results. The obesity drug phentermine is one such example. Some over-the-counter diet drugs are available for general consumption, but again, the weight loss is modest, and diet and exercise is recommended to see any results from these pills.

Different causes of obesity will affect the treatment. People for whom overeating is a serious problem may benefit from a form of obesity surgery, so that their stomachs feel fuller sooner, and less food is consumed. Those who have a medical condition may need to take obesity drugs in order to lose weight (often, they cannot exercise due to heart or mobility problems). Obesity is often the result of psychological issues. For these people, counseling with a routine of diet and exercise might help them overcome their weight problems.

Resources for obese people can be found online, in the form of support groups, weight-loss groups and forums. Groups may also be found in the community, such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, and notably, Overeaters Anonymous.

Obesity is not something that you have to live with. There is help available that can lead to better health and a longer life for anyone who is overweight.

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