Where is that Weight Coming From?
Obesity rates in the U.S. have soared in the past five decades, climbing from 13.4 percent of the adult population in 1960, to 35.7 percent in 2012. Nearly 70 percent of adults are either overweight or obese. While many people would like to blame obesity on genetic factors, these data tell a different story.
Yes, some people may have a genetic predisposition to excess weight, but for the vast majority of the population, there are other factors at play.
We’re drinking lots of sugary beverages.
Between 1977 and 2001, average daily sugar intake from sweetened beverages increased by 278 calories, thanks to both increased portion sizes and an increase in the number of daily servings. Excess sugar has been linked with increased belly fat, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, as well as metabolic issues, like insulin resistance, that interfere with weight loss. Plus, it has a negative effect on hormones related to weight maintenance and weight gain.
We’re eating more junk food.
Whether we eat at a fast-food joint, restaurant, or even at home, Americans are eating far more processed food full of empty calories and unhealthy fats. We’re also eating away from home far more often. A century ago, about 90 percent of meals were eaten at home; today, only about 50 percent of meals are home-cooked—and many of those meals include unhealthy, processed foods.
Food is much cheaper and more varied.
While some staples have decreased in price compared to disposable income, the lowest-priced foods tend to be processed or “junk” foods reliant on cheaper, less healthy ingredients. At the same time, variety of junk foods has increased, and studies indicate when we have more food options, we tend to eat more.
We’re sleeping less.
Lack of sleep wreaks havoc with hormones helping us control hunger and weight loss or gain. During the past few decades, the average amount of sleep has decreased by an hour or two per night. Shorter sleeping time has emerged as one of the primary individual risk factors for obesity, associated with a 55% increased risk in adults and an 89% increased risk in children.
We’re simply eating more.
Average calorie intake has increased substantially since 1960, from about 2,200 calories per day to about 2,600. At the same time, we’re expending about 100 fewer calories per day at our jobs.
Taken together, these and similar trends have resulted in changes in the way our bodies work and the way we’re able to efficiently process food and calories. If you’re overweight or obese, a medical weight loss program can help you overcome these trends and live a healthier life.
For many years, obesity was considered a problem of willpower, but the American Medical Association now classifies it as a disease. Obesity has spread across the United States in recent history, leaving about two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese and at risk of developing obesity related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
By its simplest definition, obesity means we have too much body fat, but the causes and effects of the condition can be complicated.
Reviewing Your Weight Loss Options
Weight loss is a huge industry in the United States. More than $60 billion is spent on weight loss programs, dieting methods, gym memberships and celebrity endorsed obesity-cures annually, and that number continues to grow. With an estimated two-thirds of the U.S adult population struggling with their weight this is not too surprising. Unfortunately, not all of this money will be invested into programs that encourage long-term weight loss.
How Does Fat Affect Us?
Fat can slow us down and change the ways our bodies look, but it can also affect us on a chemical level. Though we often think of fat as useless cushioning, body fat can have a strong influence on the body’s functions and contribute to numerous health problems as we develop more of it.
“Excess body fat sets off a whole cascade of medical conditions that include inflammation of the arteries and inflammation throughout the body,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer, a medical obesity specialist.
Belviq for Weight Loss
Weight loss medications play a critical role in the weight loss process. The goal of medications is to encourage healthy habits by making it easier to follow a low-calorie diet. When combined with healthy dietary habits and regular activity, weight loss medications can encourage long-term weight loss success.
Belviq (lorcaserin) is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that influences appetite to reduce calorie consumption. It was the first medication of its kind to be approved by the FDA in a 13-year period.
Qsymia for Weight Loss
Qsymia is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that promotes weight loss by controlling appetite. The medication is recommended as one component of a comprehensive weight loss plan that features physician guidance and support, dietary changes and regular physical activity. When used in conjunction with healthy behaviors like these, the medication is proven to enhance weight loss.
What is a Bariatrician?
A bariatrician, also known as a bariatric physician or more recently an obesity medicine specialist, is a licensed physician with detailed training in the many aspects of medicine that are affected by obesity. Because of the surprising complexity of the disease of obesity, it takes a specialized weight loss physician, a bariatrician, to help patients lose weight, maintain weight loss, and avoid medical conditions and complications that are often associated with being overweight or obese.
Studies Show Link Between Obesity and Cancer
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re not alone: According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 70 percent of adults in the United States are right there with you. That’s a sharp increase from 1994, when about 56 percent of U.S. adults were overweight or obese. Being obese carries significant health risks, such as sharp increases in the risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, many types of cancer.