Approximately 65% of the adult population in the U.S. is overweight, with about 35% of that population classified as obese. Obesity is highest among middle-aged adults, ages 40-59 (40%), lowest among young adults, ages 20-39 (30%), and affects 35% of adults over 60. Obesity is greater in lower-income populations, especially amongst women. There has also been an alarming increase in overweight and obese children, affecting one third of children in the United States. Obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. Children, ages 6-11, with obesity in 1980 were at only 7%, which has significantly increased to 18% in 2012. Even more concerning is the rise in obesity amongst adolescents, ages 12-19, jumping from 5% in 1980 to 21% in 2012.
There are many factors contributing to this increase in obesity, including:
- Increase in high caloric foods, especially sugary, less healthy foods
- Advertising of less healthy foods
- Lack of daily, quality physical activity, especially in children
- Lack of appealing places in the community to be active, especially in inner cities
- Limited access to affordable, healthy food
- Increased portion sizes, particularly in restaurants
- Lack of breast feeding support which has been shown to protect against childhood overweight and obesity
The main concerns with obesity are the long-term health consequences. Obesity can contribute to many diseases, including:
- Coronary artery disease
- Lipid abnormalities (including high cholesterol, low HDL and high triglycerides)
- Increased risk of cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Reproductive problems
- Metabolic syndrome (defined as enlarged waistline)
- High sugar level and high blood pressure which causes insulin resistance
At Kennedy Health Alliance, we are treating obesity with a combination of dietary and behavioral interventions. Because statistically most diets fail for people who have tried multiple diets, we are implementing weight loss programs that place emphasis on diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, consultation with nutritionists and dietary medications, when necessary.
At Kennedy Health Alliance, our goal is to provide our patients with the most comprehensive support to accomplish better weight loss outcomes, with successful long-term weight loss maintenance.
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