One of the largest reactions to stress is what we have termed as “comfort eating” which leads to weight gain. Since the mid-70s, the incident of weight gain and obesity has increased dramatically for both adults and children. A 2007 report based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than one-third of U.S. adults (more than 72 million) were obese in 2005- 2006. This rate has risen from 15% of adults in 1976 to 33.3% of men and 35.3% of women in 2005-2006.
The rate for children ages 2- 5 years has also increased, from 5 % in the 1960s to nearly 14%; for children ages 6 to 11 years, from 6.5% to 19%; and from 5% to over 17% for children 12- 19 years.
Obesity is defined as Body Mass Index (BMI) or 30 or higher. The BMI is an accurate indicator of weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity id the primary risk factor of the following:
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Type II Diabetes
- Certain types of cancers
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Gall Bladder Disease
- Circulation problems, including varicose veins
Nutritional expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of “Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss”, shares three things that science and real-life examples have taught us about our diets. First, eating foods with too few nutrients is bad for our health. Second, a large amount of animal products in our diet correlates with a vast number of diseases. Last, unrefined plant food offers the best protection against disease.
The question is, How can we translate this data in to a health program that can help us achieve a healthy weight and maximize our well-being?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 30 minutes of moderatly intense aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, five to six times per week. Strength training is also essential to creating and maintaining lean muscle.
The American Dietetic Association state that no more that 30% of our daily caloric intake should come from fats, and our overall diets should be high in vegetables & fruits and whole grains, while low in meat and animal by-products.
Remember: Even losing 15- 20 pounds can have a significant impact on your overall health and risks associated with obesity.