The Scary Truth About Obesity and Lifestyle Choices

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It is unfortunate that many of today’s disease result from poor lifestyle choices. It is a known fact that diabetes mellitus 2, heart diseases, certain types of cancer, asthma, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea are caused by obesity. It has been labeled by several studies as “one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.”

The sad case is that obesity is preventable. If it’s not genetically caused, it is the result of poor diet and lack of exercise. Both are clearly lifestyle choices. Indeed, just how much hype is there about healthy eating and getting active, but still studies indicate disturbing statistics: between 110,000-350,000 deaths in the United States are attributed to obesity every year, and a staggering 1 million deaths in Europe are blamed on it. To be blunt, those whose excess weight are not hereditary or caused by endocrine disorders or mental illnesses, are choosing slow and painful deaths. This perception is rather scary because then you would look at obesity mortality rates as conscious choices to end one’s life.

OTHER CAUSES OF OBESITY: Medications, endocrine disorders and psychiatric illness.

When is a person is considered obese? The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the measurement used to determine if a person is overweight. This uses the following formula: BMI = mass (kg) / height (m)2 or mass (lb) / height (in) )2 x 703. According to the World Health Organization, those with a BMI between 25- 29.9 are overweight; 30-34.9 BMI, class I obesity; 35-39.9 BMI, class II obesity and 40 BMI, class III obesity. Meanwhile, those with a BMI of 18.5 and less are considered underweight. Those with BMI between 18.5-24.9 are considered to have normal weight.

Being overweight does not happen overnight. A person does not go to bed weighing 110 lbs and wakes up weighing 200 lbs the following day. It is a systematic process, deliberately or not, of choosing all the wrong foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle. However, that is the keyword: choice. People need to make smart choices about what and how they eat. We need to find time in our busy schedules to get some cardio activity (one that’s enjoyable for us) going. We need to make the decision to live well and healthy lifestyles. Apparently this decision-making process starts in the mind, which means once we have made our choices we must be strong-willed to carry it through.

This does not mean that you have to stop eating cakes and candies altogether, or you eliminate rice and potatoes from your diet. It does not mean training hard every day for the 10K marathon. By deciding on a healthy lifestyle, we also strive for balance. Life would be boring if there is no balance. In the same breath that the world would be in chaos if there is no balance of power.

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