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Our Nation’s Obesity Epidemic: The Fallout

Two-thirds of American adults and 25 million American children are obese or overweight. Studies report childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last three decades. This generation (ages 6-11) is likely to be the first to have a shorter life span than that of their parents.

Overweight individuals are statistically at greater risk for developing type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. Since 1990, the incidence of type II diabetes has risen over 76%. Serious complications of type II diabetes (kidney failure, blindness and diabetic neuropathy) generally show up 15 years after the initial onset. In some areas, 50% of all new type II diabetes cases are diagnosed in children under the age of 17. These cases will experience serious health challenges in their thirties. Heart disease and cancer are running a pretty close race for the leading cause of death in the U.S., while stroke is lagging in third. Excess weight is also one of the leading causes of osteoarthritis.

A person does not become overweight or obese if they eat appropriate portions of healthy food and pursue a physically active lifestyle. The basic causes of obesity and excess weight are not complex. In fact, they are quite simply poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle; more calories consumed than expended. The complexity seems to lie in effective, long-term solutions.

October is National Physical Therapy Month and this year the American Physical Therapy Association is focusing on our nation’s obesity epidemic. As our commitment to serve our communities, HealthQuest invites you, your family and friends to join us in the fi ght against obesity throughout the month of October. We will share proactive lifestyle approaches to avoid or address the conditions resulting from obesity and being overweight. We will reveal realistic ways to teach your kids about what to eat and why; ways to incorporate physical activity without feeling like you’re “squeezing” it in; and ways to enjoy eating right and exercising.

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Written by Brooks Juneau

October 25, 2007 at 3:19 pm

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