Like many people in Southlake, Texas this afternoon, I was reading the new edition of Southlake Style magazine that came in the mail today. After the usual local nonsense, I came across an article by Harold Wilson of Multisport Coaching Systems about weight loss exercise programs for truly obese people. He talked about the fact that most articles spend so much time talking about the overwhelming numbers associated with obesity and of course the associated health risks, but almost never spend much time on how an obese person can actually lose the obese tag.
Harold spent some time talking about the people in the news that have successfully lost the weight (Think “The Biggest Loser” or Jared of Subway…heck, he is even going to try to run the New York City Marathon next month!).
The meat of the article discussed the keys to successful weight loss: strategy + execution = success! Wow! Isn’t that the key to just about everything? But wait, maybe Harold is on to something. I have runners that get so caught up in planning their training program that they have little energy left to execute it. Same goes for weight loss programs. Many people spend all their available energy in the planning, so they never get around to executing it!
So, I will reiterate to you Harold’s tips for weight loss and you will see that they hold truth in all exercise programs!
Discipline is necessary
A recently published study predicted that the rate of diabetes in the US will double by 2034 while the rate of obesity will remain steady. Steady at a pathetic one third of the adult population! The discrepancy takes into account the aging population and how more fat Americans will become diabetic as they age. What does this mean for our country? It means a lot sicker, older population; and a trillion dollars in health care costs that we cannot afford as a country. Our only hope as a society is to start losing weight!
It has been estimated that while one third of the US adult population is obese (greater than 30 pounds over a healthy weight); almost 70% of the adult population is over weight (one to 29 pounds over a healthy weight). This means only 30% of the population is actually close to their ideal weight! Sadly our kids aren't fairing much better. The obesity rate in children is around 20%. This isn't changing much either because of the habits of most kids parents. Fat adults have fat kids. Like begets like.
So what can we do as a society to change this alarming trend? We need widespread lifestyle reform. We need to put the population not just on a quick fix diet, but on a life changing health regimen. Perhaps we should start by making all the kids walk to school. Oh yeah, there aren't enough sidewalks in many towns. Perhaps they can ride their bikes? Oh, same problem; no bike paths. How about increasing physical education in the schools? Darn, there isn't any money for that. And those standardized tests show kids need more classroom time. We've already tried improving the cafeteria food to much healthier choices, but most kids either won't eat it or bring junk food from home.
I've got it! How about an obesity tax that goes straight to public health initiatives? We can fund community health reform with a fat tax. Every time you buy a bag of potato chips or soda, you have to pay an extra sales tax. Maybe we can add a weight column on your income tax forms. No, most people would lie. I don't see the IRS going around weighing people. I think the junk food tax is our best bet. An extra little tax on everything from fast food hamburgers to candy bars. Then we can write a curriculum for adult education on healthy cooking, eating and exercise. Start a community walking program. Start a stress relief support group. Community health clinics focused on weight loss. A real health reform could sweep the nation.
Let's face it. The US cannot afford to continue to allow the majority of the population to be so fat! We spend most of our current health care dollars on chronic disease. Most of these diseases are caused by obesity and smoking. Think about what the US would look like if we lost weight and stopped smoking as a society? We wouldn't need this insane form of health care reform that Congress is trying to pass. The money would be so much better spent on real health reform!
I know we can come up with a plan to decrease the weight of the population. We have to! Our own overindulgence is killing us slowly but surely. Be part of the solution! Encourage better eating and exercise habits with your friends and families. Let's change America one family at a time. Remember that if we fail and this alarming trend continues, this will be the last generation that will have a life expectancy longer then their parents.
Many of our patients, much like their estimated 75 million obese neighbors, are stuck in a never-ending, life-threatening cycle: Obesity aggravates the pain in their feet; sore feet make it almost impossible to exercise for weight loss; and without exercise, their weight continues to increase which puts them at risk for worsening of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other life threatening diseases.
It’s the New Year and more than 50% of New Year’s resolutions have something to do with weight loss. This includes a resolution to exercise on a regular basis. Do not let foot pain thwart your resolution to exercise! The best way to break the pain cycle is to seek help from your podiatrist. Often simply placing you in the correct shoes with arch supports or custom foot orthotics will decrease your foot pain and fast track your resolution to exercise.
Many of our patients have not exercised in years, so they have many questions on how to get started. Before starting any program, it is important to discuss exercise with your doctor to see if you have any restrictions due to heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis. Get a physical! It’s a great way to start off the year. After your physical, visit your podiatrist to discuss your foot and ankle aches and pains.
There is no perfect exercise program for anyone, but if you are more than 20 pounds overweight, I recommend you start with a walking program that also has a strength and flexibility component worked in. What does that mean? Start with walking, not running, and add stretching and a little weight training to balance your program. If you need help with program specifics, consult a personal trainer or physical therapist.
Walking really is the easiest and least expensive exercise program that can be done indoors or outdoors; and this can progress to a running program as you lose weight and get healthier.
Did you know that inactivity is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States, second only to tobacco use?
Need more motivation? Here are six great reasons other than the obvious physical fitness improvements to start a walking program:
1. Walking prevents type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%.
2. Walking strengthens your heart. In one study, mortality rates among men who walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day. Women in one study who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.
3. Walking is good for your brain. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!
4. Walking is good for your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
5. Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression as measured with a standard depression questionnaire by 47%.
6. Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Women who performed the equivalent of one hour and 15 minutes to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking had an 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer and even if an individual person develops colon cancer, the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing mortality.
I don’t know if we’ve convinced you yet, but a walking program is a great way to start the New Year! Write down your fitness goals. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror that asks, “Did you exercise today?” or a picture of yourself 20+ pounds lighter. Come visit Janet at Healthy Steps and get a new pair of shoes to start your program. (She gives great advice as well). Make 2010 your year to keep your New Years resolution and become your ideal self!
Walk or Run Happy! Moving in the Right Direction!!
I was watching ESPN this morning while I was eating my breakfast. Yes, this is my usual morning routine as a sports junkie! A story came on that I felt compelled to share with my readers. It highlighted a cause that is near and dear to my heart: Childhood obesity. So many of my adult patients are obese and if we curb this trend in our children, they are much more likely to be healthier adults. As a parent, I make sure my children are as active and healthy as they can be. Obese parents tend to have obese children. We need to break the cycle.
Here are the highlights of this story:
There's a childhood obesity crisis in the country, virtually any expert will tell you, and there is no shortage of reasons: increasingly sedentary lifestyles driven by video games, television and computers; a fast-food society in which soda machines and greasy cafeteria food are ubiquitous in kids' lives; and dwindling opportunities for exercise, particularly during the school day.
Put simply, at a time when every penny is being pinched by every school in every district in every county in every state, physical education is taking a beating. The experts and educators say there is no doubt that the erosion of P.E. has been a major contributor to the skyrocketing obesity rates.
And, of course, the more kids are unhealthy, the less they can exercise. This is their circle of life.
The National Association for Sport & Physical Education -- a non-profit organization made up of P.E. teachers, coaches, athletic directors and other professionals advocating for physical activity -- says students should receive 150 minutes of P.E. per week.
How many schools actually meet this standard….almost none!
For the entire article and video click here.
Take home message: we cannot rely on our schools to provide physical activity for our children. As parents, we need to turn off the TV, video games, and computers. Make our children go outside and play. Make healthy play a family tradition. On cold, rainy days teach your children stretching, yoga, or get small dumbbells and do a strength workout with them. Make it fun and most of all…share it with them! This will make family time a healthy time! Memories are made of this and your child will thank you when they are a healthy adult sharing the same kind of family time with their children!
Obesity causes kidney disease, liver disease and several types of cancer, but the most common way it kills is by causing stroke and, most importantly, heart disease. Obesity causes heart disease by elevating blood pressure, by interfering with blood cholesterol levels, and by bringing on diabetes.
BMI is a calculation that expresses a relationship between height and weight. People are considered underweight if their BMI is less than 18.5, normal weight when the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight when BMI is between 25 and 29.9, and obese when BMI is 30 or more, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
People who are moderately obese with a BMI (body mass index) in the 30 to 35 range reduced their life span by two and four years. For those who are severely obese with BMIs between 40 and 45, their life span was reduced by eight to 10 years. That's very similar to the effects of smoking.
Of course, I would think that this a is a no-brainer! The fatter you are, the more likely you will die from chronic disease. This is common sense, but for all those peolpe in complete denial in the drive through at McDonalds, here is your wake up call!
Complete article is a must read!
Encourage your friends and family to start exercising and decrease their BMI! Add a few years to their life!
This blog is a discussion of the recently published guidelines for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Opinions are mine but the quotes are taken from published paper. The complete published guideline can be read at Medscape.
The Endocrine Society has issued practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity and has published them in the September 9 Online First issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The guidelines were cosponsored by the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society.
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