So just what is obesity and why is it important to discuss? On Sunday, we gave the US National Library of Medicine definition of obesity: having too much body fat. Now there are some folk who are truly “big boned” but most of us, if we are honest, know exactly what it means to have too much fat on our bodies. Remember the Special K commercial “Can you pinch an inch”?? Well, some of us can pinch several inches and that just isn’t good!
Obesity is linked with multiple medical problems, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleeping problems, and even cancer. Having too much body fat makes it difficult for doctors to provide the best medical care. Every procedure, even what is typically a simple surgery, carries excess risk when patients are obese.
Thirty percent (30%) of the US population is considered clinically obese. If we look at obesity by race/ethnicity (see the CDC report), the epidemic affects blacks and Hispanics the most. And interestingly, rates of obesity varies by state.
Some people use the excuse that BMI does not apply to all races/ethnicities. There are indeed studies that shown that BMI can overestimate fat in blacks [see article]. And the BMI in other countries such as Japan and Singapore is adjusted to fit the population. However, the crude measurement of BMI is at LEAST a starting point by which we can make a personal assessment, if indeed the fat jiggling on various body parts is not enough to get us to admit that we may need to drop a few pounds.
There are several things that contribute to being overweight and obese, but the major contributory to weight gain is consuming (eating or drinking) more calories than you are using.
Will you explore this topic with me? Let’s find creative solutions together. And stay tuned for some fabulous low-fat, low-cost, and great tasting recipes from Chef Jeff.