Obesity Rates Expected to Soar Within the Next 20 Years

All across the United States, obesity is on the rise.  Over a third of all American adults currently meet the criteria for being considered obese, along with 17% of children and teens.  Obesity rates vary by region, with The Centers for Disease Control documenting a health epidemic on the rise, state by state.  The state of Louisiana, for instance, reports a 33.4% rate; Kentucky is rated at 30%, and New Jersey weighs in at 23.7%.  To combat this growing epidemic, Americans are trying to lose weight by any means at their disposal:  Dieting is on the rise in Virginia, vigorous exercise is embraced in California, and in Oklahoma, weight loss surgery is proving a viable option to lose unwanted pounds and inches.

Obese is the definition applied to an overweight person with an elevated body mass index (BMI) number, arrived at using height and weight calculations.   For an average male, a BMI over 25 is considered overweight; over 30, he is considered obese.  Other measures include a person’s waist circumference, which determines the amount of abdominal fat, considered particularly dangerous to health, and lifestyle risk factors for conditions associated with being significantly overweight.

Childhood obesity is of particular concern to the nation.  As with adult obesity, being overweight is a key risk factor for a host of health conditions, from high blood pressure to elevated cholesterol levels and liver disease. Childhood obesity also sets the stage for adult obesity, where the compounded problem contributes to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

The Southern states have been particularly hit hard.   Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alabama, along with Michigan, are ranked as the top five of the nation’s “fattest” states by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While future projections are grim, there are solutions available, and it is critical that overweight individuals be made aware of the options available to them.  If change is not implemented, it is estimated that fully 66% of the population of Oklahoma, ranked sixth on the list, will be clinically obese in the next twenty years, a statistic that is driving many citizens in Oklahoma to seek weight loss surgery.

Exercise should be made a part of the daily routine for children and adults, replacing at least some of the time spent in sedentary activities like television and computer use.  Incorporating fruits and vegetables into the diet and cutting back on fast and processed foods will reap rewards over the long run.  Implementing even small changes on a daily basis can reap substantial rewards.

Obesity does not need to be a life sentence.  Healthy eating plans, regular physical activity, nutritional supplements and weight loss surgery in Oklahoma and across the country are all options to be considered to fight the obesity epidemic.

Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who blogs on a variety of topics. Follow her @MissWritey.

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