Unhealthy America Part III: Obesity & Type II Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define overweight and obesity as labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’ also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems, like Type II diabetes.

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

See the following table for an example:

Height Weight Range BMI Considered
5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. For more information about BMI, visit Body Mass Index.

BMI is just one indicator of potential health risks associated with being overweight or obese. For assessing someone’s likelihood of developing overweight- or obesity-related diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines recommend looking at two other predictors:

  • The individual’s waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases).
  • Other risk factors the individual has for diseases and conditions associatehttps://kristensherlock.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=54d with obesity (for example, high blood pressure or physical inactivity).

Type II diabetes– which results in unusually high levels of blood glucose, or sugar– is most commonly found in people who do not have a healthy weight or a balanced diet. Typically, both  are present. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, there are 18.2 million Americans with diabetes. Unfortunately, approximately 5.2 million are unaware that they are ill. Diabetes is now the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is becoming more common due to Americans’ increasing failure to exercise and increase weight.

Sufferers of Type II diabetes either cannot use or do not produce enough insulin, which is the hormone used by the body to convert sugar and starches into energy. As glucose builds up in the bloodstream, symptoms of diabetes worsen. If left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, kidney disease, nerve disease, heart disease ans stroke.

Lifestyle changes, such as diet and moderate exercise, are the only ways to lower the risk of developing Type II diabetes. For those who are already affected by this disease, there are medications readily available to replace low insulin levels.

Studies suggest that diets high in fiber can help prevent the development of Type II diabetes, as well as lower the glucose and insulin levels of those already affected. Other additions to the diet that suggest positive effects include: omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish), antioxidants (fruits with high levels like acai, goji and pomegranate), Alka-Plex,  and vitamin B complex.

Take note that even small adjustments to your diet and exercise routine can make a big difference in your overall health. And when you are healthy, you feel better, you look better, and you have a longer life to enjoy with the ones you love most.


One thought on “Unhealthy America Part III: Obesity & Type II Diabetes

  1. Pingback: Feeling Your Age? « Kristensherlock's Blog

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