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Obesity, A Global Epidemic

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity has become a global epidemic. 

In 2000, over 300 Million adults across the developed and developing nations were obese and the numbers were growing1.  By 2001, the fat problem wasn’t improving and the WHO coined the term Globesity derived from two words global and obesity.  Globesity describes a public health crisis caused by excessive weight gain2.

Today, 69% of American Adults3 and 59% of Canadian Adults are overweight or obese 4, defined as having a Body Mass Index – weight in Kg divided by height in meters square – over 25.  The statistics for children aren’t much better.  According to Health Canada, the proportion of obese children has tripled in the past 30 years, tripled!  What’s going on? Has the world gone crazy?

As the scales climb and our waists expand, so too do the commercial weight loss and diet management industries, worth over 4 billion in the US alone.  These industries prey on the hopes and desires of individuals desperate to lose weight.

Fad diets are one of the many products marketed by these industries.  What’s a fad diet?  It’s a diet that promises great results by simply eliminating one or more foods from your diet. Here are a few you may have heard – The 3 Day Diet, The Atkins Diet, The Paleo Diet, The Blood Type Diet, Low Carb Diet and the list goes on.

Some fad diets hone in on our insecurities and promise dramatic image improvements, like The Ab Diet, The Beauty Diet, or how about The Brazilian Bikini Body Program.  Some diets recommend exercise as part of the weight loss strategy and some don’t. One thing is for sure; if you try one or all of them you will likely lose weight only to gain it back when you stop the diet.

Welcome to the world of yo-yo dieting.  This weight loss followed by weight gain, usually to a higher weight is really bad for you both mentally and physically.

If you’re like me, a bit self critical, your first thought when things don’t go as planned, will be something like this.  Why can’t I stick to it, how could I gain that weight back, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I commit etc.  This is a very unhealthy thought process and if you’re not careful will lead you to a place you don’t want to go, the nearest candy bar.

This is called emotional eating, it leads us to make poor food choices that sooth our injured inner selves, you know the one you just got through beating up on with your own critical thoughts.

There is no quick fix to this weight problem the world faces.  One solution is to take control, to stop listening to the quick fix and to stop buying into it.  Instead make healthy lifestyle choices that positively affect your live and your health.  After all, image while important is secondary to being healthy, having a balanced lifestyle and loving ourselves.

The following 7 healthy lifestyle choices will take you to where you want to be both physically and mentally.

7 Steps to a healthy lifestyle.  It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

  1. Exercise.  Don’t sit down instead go for a walk.
  2. Don’t skip meals. Keep your metabolism active by eating small meals and snacks.
  3. Manage your portion sizeStop super-sizing and use smaller plates to serve up home cooked meals.
  4. Plan your shopping list and read food labels.  Buy what’s on  your list and read the food labels to check the sugar, salt and fat content.  Even minimally processed food like canned vegetables i.e. sweet corn and carrots, have added sugar and salt.
  5. Eat less processed food. For breakfast, swap the cereal for hard boiled eggs, or plain yogurt sprinkled with honey, fresh fruit and ground flax seed.
  6. Watch what you drink.  Water is the best; have headache drink water.  Water should always be your first option save fruit juices and alcohol for special occasions.
  7. Understand why you eat.  Stop mentally beating yourself up.

These points aren’t new; you’ve probably read them a million times before. Regrettable, there is nothing new!   No simple solution exists to putting your life and weight back on track.

Consider the 7 steps as a good simple start to a healthy lifestyle and you’re life will change, in a good way. You’ll have more energy, you’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll understand yourself better.  Sure you’ll probably lose some weight too, but this time you’ll keep it off.

The 7 steps to a healthy lifestyle aren’t sexy, but they are sustainable.   Making healthy lifestyle choices empowers us as individuals; it is this empowerment that will solve the Globesity epidemic that is sweeping the world.  What choices will you make today that will positively impact your life?  Let me know.

To receive more healthy lifestyle tips and tricks I invite you to join the mailing list.

Related Links

1.        World Health Organization, programmes and projects, Nutrition topics: Nutrition.  www.who.int_nutrition_topics_obesity

2.        Quinion M. World Wide words.

3.        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fast Stats – Overweight Prevalence: Obesity and Overweight.

4.        Tjepkema M. Measure Obesity: Adult Obesity in Canada: Measured height and weight.  Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82- 620-MVE2005001.

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2 thoughts on “Obesity, A Global Epidemic

  1. Dear Allison

    Thanks for starting off a great blog. I appreciate that you can speak with authority and put up a well-researched piece on the global obesity epidemic, and yet show clearly through your earlier post on baking with your family that healthy eating can indeed be achieved through pleasurable means and without having to give things up – but rather simply substituting the bad with healthier options. I think what people have lost in the developed world through their reliance on fast and processed foods is the control of what goes in, and any attempts to regain that control, through education starting in the home, will be very welcome.

    Thanks again and please, keep it up!

    Annelise

    • Hi Annelise!
      Thanks for your comment; I’m so please the blog resonates with you. I believe a healthy lifestyle is attainable for everyone and that little changes will make big differences in our lives.
      I look forward to your comments on future blog posts!

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