Lifestyle change key to weight loss
300,000 deaths per year are associated with obesity
"If it has a drive-through or a buffet, stay away," said University of Alabama in Huntsville Assistant Professor of Nursing Luan Holloway. "If it's all you can eat, people will."
According to the Surgeon General, the nation's economic cost of obesity in the year 2000 was $117 billion, and 300,000 deaths per year are associated with it. A 1999 report by the Surgeon General showed 61 percent of adults in the U.S. were overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity are associated with heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, stroke, breathing problems and psychological disorders.
Holloway, like many experts, points to the old fail-safe remedy of diet and exercise, but admits that doesn't fit the national lifestyle.
"We have to get rid of excuses," Holloway said. "We tell ourselves we don't have time to exercise, but how many people have a Nordic Track in their home and never use it."
There has to be a lifestyle change, Holloway said, you are setting yourself up for failure.
"You have to change what you're doing and make choices."
Holloway said much of the American mindset is tied to convenience, like fast food.
"Notice the magazines at the grocery store check-out lines," Holloway said. "You will see ads for desserts you can make in 30 minutes or less, plus how to lose five pounds a week."
Statistics show obesity is growing among children and adolescents at an alarming rate. Recent data quotes by the American Academy of Pediatrics said about 15 percent of American children ages 6-19 are severely obese or overweight. The 1999 Surgeon General report figures showed 13 percent for children ages 6-11 and 14 percent of adolescents ages 12-19 were overweight or obese. Along with these statistics are increasing numbers of children developing adult-onset, or type 2, diabetes.
The academy recommends children have a body mass index measurement on a yearly basis as a method of combating obesity in these early years. Holloway said anything is fine in moderation, but parents need to stop using food as a reward.