Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Obesity’

Scanning through blog after blog, a common theme floods the month of August. Several entries appear to cite this article or some other article that follows the same story. I read through the article and the wording throughout struck me to be quite odd.

In the study, about 51 percent of overweight adults, or roughly 36 million people nationwide, had mostly normal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood fats called triglycerides and blood sugar.

Almost one-third of obese adults, or nearly 20 million people, also were in this healthy range, meaning that none or only one of those measures was abnormal.

Yet about a fourth of adults in the recommended-weight range had unhealthy levels of at least two of these measures. That means 16 million of them are at risk for heart problems.

The wording appears to compare healthy to unhealthy. Most comparisons make a clear point by showing the contrast between like things. In any case, I later found this to be how the original journal article was also worded. I decided to stop reading journalists’ take on the paper and decided to show the data from it directly.

 

The following chart shows the percentage of people that have risk factors associated with heart disease.
  Normal Weight Overweight Obese
20-34 years old 10.3% 52.3%
35-49 years old 16.9%  – 68.9%
50-64 years old 41.7%  – 79.6%
65-79 years old 54.7%  – 85.7%
80+ years old 56.2%  – 77.1%
20+ years old 23.5% 48.7% 68.3%

Unfortunately the journal article did not mention age specific percents for the overweight category.

Looking at the data in that form one does not see obesity as equaling unhealthiness, just significantly MORE unhealthy than being a normal weight. Also the risk factors affect the obese at a very young age. This should have been what most of the news sources were reporting. Instead we saw headlines like “Some Obese Individuals Appear ‘Metabolically Healthy,’ Without Increased Cardiovascular Risk,” “Half of overweight adults may be heart-healthy,” or “Overweight doesn’t always mean heart risks.”

The news spread like mad into blogs and with that came several entries like this. Browsing through the comments one quickly sees how the majority feels that they fall into the obese but HEALTHY category (statistics from the study shows otherwise). The sad fact remains that this study only focused on ONE aspect of health. Who knows what other diseases follow similar trends. 

In any case, the study shows that not everyone lives a healthy lifestyle (regardless of size). BMI remains an archaic method of determining health. Childhood obesity needs to be addressed, as potential risk factors are significantly higher for obese children.

Living a high quality life free from disease may be impossible, but cutting risk factors can aid you in the goal. This study shows that losing weight can help.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The CDC ranks Alabama as the 2nd heaviest state with 30.3 % of the population having a BMI of over 30. The state has decided to give state employees a lose weight or pay ultimatum. The state employees (~40,000) have a year to lose weight or start paying $25 a month toward their usually free plan. The Alabama program will go by the body mass index chart — anyone with a BMI over 35 will be charged. 

Alabama, which already charges smokers, will be the first state to charge overweight state workers who don’t work on slimming down, while a handful of other states reward employees who adopt healthy behaviors. The State Employees’ Insurance Board this week approved the plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don’t have free health screenings.

If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay starting in January 2011.

William Ashmore, executive director of the State Employees’ Insurance Board, said research shows someone with a body mass index of 35 to 39 generates $1,748 more in annual medical expenses than someone with a BMI less than 25, considered normal.

“It’s terrible,” said health department employee Chequla Motley. “Some people come into this world big.”

“The state will feel good about itself for offering something and the person of size will end up paying $300 a year for the bad luck of having a chronic disease his/her state-sponsored insurance program failed to cover in an appropriate and meaningful fashion,” said Walter Lindstrom, founder of the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in California.

Computer technician Tim Colley already pays $24 a month for being a smoker and doesn’t like the idea of another charge.  “It’s too Big Brotherish,” he said.

E-K. Daufin of Montgomery, a college professor and founder of Love Your Body, Love Yourself, which holds body acceptance workshops, said the new policy will be stressful for people like her. “I’m big and beautiful and doing my best to keep my stress levels down so I can stay healthy. That’s big, not lazy, not a glutton and certainly not deserving of the pompous, poisonous disrespect served up daily to those of us with more bounce to the ounce.”

The major problem I have with this idea stems from a recent study that showed that ~70% of “obese” people and about ~24% of “normal” weight people have health conditions that were commonly associated with obesity. Weight serves as an indicator of health but it does not appear to be the best indicator of health. Since they screen everyone, simply charging those with health abnormalities might be the fair way to approach this issue. 

It should be interesting to see how this ends up.

Read Full Post »

WordPress opens a world of discovery, the streams of passionate and knowledgeable writing flows endlessly. Amidst this river of ideas, being a strong proponent of health and well-being, I encountered several Fat Acceptance blogs under the health section (Shapely Prose, Junkfood Science, & Eat a Cheeseburger). Having become an ardent reader of these blogs, opinions bounce around my head waiting to be released. Many of these blogs seem to be intolerable of outside opinions so my thoughts/comments remain unpublished, this will serve as my outlet.

The concepts proposed by most FA websites promote self-confidence, with a call to end societal pressures to obtain THE ‘ideal’ body presented by the media. The sites also address the ineffectiveness of dieting and the potential dangers resulting from it. They deal with obesity as a human rights issue with a call to end all size related discrimination. All these valid points serve a wonderful purpose and can enrich the lives of many people. 

On the surface everything seems perfectly normal, but when one peruses the comments and reads some of the eating habits promoted by the sites, one quickly sees the detrimental impact. On numerous occasions people write what can only be labeled as careless eating habits. Claiming that if you want something go ahead and have it. While I am not against the mentality of eating whatever one wants, one needs to realize that overeating never serves a good purpose. 

Many FA sites spew contradictions. I have observed people claiming that weight loss as an impossible, unreasonable goal. Most argue that they live a fat but fit lifestyle exercising regularly and eating well. Yet they also take pride in reckless eating. Some go further insisting that excess weight is harmless to health.

FA sites urge acceptance of something that can be changed–excess weight–while trying to change what they cannot: the reality of its health risks. To be sure, some of us are born with larger bone structures, or lower metabolisms but few of us were born to be obese. We can change how much we exercise and what foods we choose. Unlike acceptance, these choices require effort. Let’s put forth the effort and help each other. 

 

8/03/08 – 5.53 miles in 50:53

Read Full Post »

A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the overweight populations of 45 U.S. states increased last year. The percentage between 2005 and 2007 grew about 1.7 percent to a record 25.6 percent, or about 54 million people. That pretty much means 1 in every 4 American is obese!

Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are the states with the biggest percentage in obesity. 30 percent of the adults are considered obese, that’s nearing 1 out of 3 people! Colorado sported the lowest rate at 18.7 percent.

By U.S. regions obesity was most prevalent in the South, with 27 percent of residents classified as obese. In the Midwest, the number was 25.3 percent; in the Northeast, 23.3 percent; and in the West, 22.1 percent, according to the report.

Breaking the numbers down by race/ethnicity and sex, obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0 percent), followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1 percent).

Education levels play a role, too. For men, obesity prevalence was lowest among college graduates (22.1 percent) and highest among those with some college (29.5 percent) and a high school diploma (29.1 percent). For women, obesity prevalence was lowest among college graduates (17.9 percent) and highest among those with less than a high school diploma (32.6 percent).

The CDC defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) of 30 or above. An adult who is 5-feet, 10-inches tall is considered obese if he or she weighs 209 pounds. I know many people remain opposed to using BMI for anything but when one looks at just how much leeway has been given, it’s very scary.

The report contained data about adults but children do not show any immunity to the obesity epidemic. Obesity remains an issue that must be addressed. People have to start being held accountable instead of making silly references to genetics, physiological problems, or fast food companies. Take initiative and make some small changes, it’s not too late or the wrong time. Let’s help each other get healthy!

7/20/08 – 4.1 miles in 36:47

Read Full Post »