Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States.  It has been documented that one-third of all Americans are obese. This amounts to 58 million Americans who are overweight, including 1 out of every 5 children.

Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. If a person has a Body Mass Index greater than 30, that person is considered obese.  To calculate this excess, multiply your weight in pounds by 705; divide by your height in inches; divide this number by your height in inches a second time. The figure you obtain will be BMI.

Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern. Being overweight increases your risk of disease and health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Certain illnesses such as hypothyroidism can also cause obesity. After smoking, it is the second leading cause of preventable death.

Weight increase occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat. A successful dietary plan will help you to consume fewer calories than you expend.

The combination of a nutritional diet, exercise and changes in behavior is the best way to lose weight. Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits promote weight gain. Lack of sleep, eliminating breakfast, late night snacking, and certain medications can also contribute to obesity.


Fruits and VegetablesCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                  Fruits and Vegetables

The following suggestions will start you on the right path to a healthy body:

1. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce portion sizes. Always eat breakfast, the most important meal of your day.

2. Keep a diary of how much you eat and drink each day. This will allow you to alter your habits on the following days. Obtain a calorie counter for this purpose. As a general rule, females should NOT eat below 1200 calories per day and males should NOT eat below 1600 calories per day.

3. Increase your activity level. Take more walks. Move around in your home more frequently.

4. Set realistic goals. Make small changes in your diet instead of attempting drastic changes that you're not likely to stick with for the long haul.

5. To lose weight and keep it off you have to adopt healthy regular eating habits that you can maintain.

It has been shown that your network of friends and relatives can influence your weight; you are more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives. The condition may run in families because it is inherited and also because family members tend to have similar eating and activity habits.

You alone can determine what your lifestyle will be. Educate yourself with regard to foods that give proper nutrition, those that should be avoided at all cost, how to cut down on portions, healthy snacking, and water intake. Above all, read packaging ingredient information before buying prepared foods. You can start today to change your life.

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
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