Last weekend I noticed a billboard on the highway that read:   Obesity is a disease, it is not a choice!   Nice way to avoid responsibility--put the blame elsewhere.   This billboard was promoting a weight loss program (not a bad idea, but a misleading headline!)  Remember the days when the main excuse for weight gain was "it's a hormonal problem, I can't do anything about it"  or "it's in my genes".   Yes , there are some hormonal issues (e.g. hypothyroidism)  and genetics  that can predispose you to  weight gain.    However, the rise in obesity and its associated health problems far surpasses the number of people who have a hormonal or genetic problem!

In a recent Chicago Tribune interview given by Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones at Northwestern University about heart disease ( a major outcome of obesity), he points out that "your lifestyle and behavior choices can trump much of genetics."    As far as thyroid conditions, the number of people with thyroid problems averages about 16% of the population.   And some thyroid conditions actually make you lose weight.

In 2020 in the US, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese. Currently, 72 percent of men and 63 percent of women are overweight or obese (people who are overweight have a BMI of 25 to 29, people who are obese have a BMI of 30 or greater).  Obesity is a huge factor when it come to diabetes risk.  In 2020, 77 percent of men and 53 percent of women will have dysglycemia (either diabetes or pre-diabetes). Currently, 62 percent of men and 43 percent of women have dysglycemia.

"We’ve been dealing with the obesity trend for the past three decades, but the impact we project on blood sugar is a true shock,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, chair and associate professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg. “Those are some really scary numbers. When blood sugar goes up like that all of the complications of diabetes come into play."

Less than five percent of Americans currently are considered to have ideal cardiovascular health. The modest six percent improvement in cardiovascular health that is projected for 2020 means better cholesterol and blood pressure numbers for Americans and fewer smokers. Improvements in treatment and control of cholesterol and blood pressure with medication and declines in smoking would partially account for this small boost, but they wouldn’t be enough to offset the weight and diabetes problems Americans face. Projected improvements in diet and physical activity also contribute to the six percent projection, but the absolute increase in Americans who consume ideal diets will remain less than two percent by 2020, if current trends continue.

“Since the 1960s cardiovascular disease death rates have substantially decreased, but if the weight and dysglycemia trends continue to grow past 2020, we are in danger of seeing those overall numbers start to reverse,” Mark Huffman, a cardiologist at Northwestern, said.  Achieving a healthy weight through diet and physical activity is the best way most Americans can improve their cardiovascular health, besides quitting smoking.

Just remember, you can have a bowl of cereal in the morning or a chocolate covered donut.    It's your choice...not some disease.

 

Tags: 

Comments

It is a choice not a disease. Everyone can choose to be an obese or not. It depends in the discipline of the individual.

As a medical practitioner, most people are overweight or obese through making bad choices. A sedentary lifestyle (not exercising), eating high fat diet and eating too much food will lead to obesity. "Fast foods" are very bad for us. They are very high in cholesterol, fat and sugar and this leads to obesity. Cooking healthy meals at home and exercising would help reduce obesity. Thanks for sharing this article

Have we ruled it out as an addiction??? Or have we categorized an addiction as a disease?

I have been obese for a while and been in fear of contracting diabetes. Watched the Horizon program on alternate day fasting and was fascinated by the concept of tripping the body from growth into repair mode. So I thought I would try it out. I have been on this fast now for four weeks and found it quite easy to stick to. The Horizon presenter used this for ten weeks on a 5:2 ration and had a very good result. Mine is 1:1 so I am hoping for better things. I have lost six kg in four weeks, which is really pleasing, but only 0.5" on my waist. The waist has only just started to reduce in the last couple of days - but it's a start!

With incredible stats like this: "In 2020 in the US, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese.", perhaps much needed attention to eating disorder treatment and recovery will become mainstream. Not just for women, but men also as they will have higher percentages of obesity. Wake up America!

I would say its a combination of both but more tended towards a poor lifestyle choice, these days we eat too much and move too little, that the problem

I believe that fast food has a lot to do with obesity in this country. Everywhere you look there are huge ads for greasy fattening foods. If fast food chains really started to come out with some actual "healthy" fast food items for a price that people can afford obesity would drop significantly.

I think it's a bit of both but it is strongly dependent on the personality.

The biggest contribution to the population of North America being overweight is our lifestyle. We want things now. Enter the era of fast food and processed food. If we could get back to eating like our ancestors did even 60 years ago we'd be better off.

certainly obesity is a choice not a disease. obesity can lead to various diseases such as heart failure, stroke and diabetes. so you choose which one?

I think it's a choice. Because it depends on the person's attitude itself, whether he/she want to endure a healthy life or not.

It is a choice! I gained weight and become obese because of my action and lack of self control but I was able to get back my old body also because of my motivation. In my opinion, it depends on your attitude towards it.

One of the biggest factors to be considered about obesity these days is the role of sugar and fructose. Sugar produces an opioid type of addiction (in research completed with mice) so of course you might prefer a nice iced donut for breakfast. There are many of us who have been or are still addicted to sugar. With the low fat diet being pushed on us for several decades and our shelves filled with high sugar, low fat foods and processed foods and soft drinks, we have been eating way too much. It is even in BBQ sauce, breads, baked beans, Asian sauces etc - foods that are traditionally considered to be savory. Fructose (fruit sugar) is not metabolized through the normal metabolic pathways and is taken straight to our liver. If we have eaten too much fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup, sugar (which is half sucrose and sucrose in fruit, our overloaded livers turn it straight to fat, literally. A little fructose is not a problem because our livers can metabolize it and convert it to glucose to be used by our bodies of energy. Of course sugar is not the only consideration for obesity, our hormones have an effect through stress and lack of sleep, we exercise less and we are more sedentary than ever. This is why we need to eat healthy food for the majority of our diet and have treats occasionally. For those of us who have been sugar addicts, it is not as easy as making a choice - there are times when you just have to have it. The good news is that the less you eat, the less you want it but taking those first steps can be quite tough.

Are you asking if its a disease or choice?of cource its a disease and needs urgent attention,mostly in kids

Wow! 83% and 72% are really shocking numbers, is it because of the growing numbers or just the food chain influences...

CHOICE Obesity is NORMAL in America. The idea of “healthy habits” and positive psychology are nothing new. “7 habits of this” and “7 habits of that” books have been best sellers for the last 30 years. Even when given a national stage and expensive trainers, like on the television show, “The Biggest Loser,” Americans continue to battle with food. It’s a sign of the times. It’s quite possibly the first time in modern human history that a civilization has too much food. We PAY people to help us not eat so much. Think about that statement for a second. If you tried to explain that to someone living in third-world squalor, they wouldn’t even understand. “Wait a minute … you pay someone to help you NOT eat?! Huh?” Given that fact, we can’t beat ourselves up over this. It’s not our fault that we have so much food. But it has caught up with us. Parents are now obese and passing that down to their children. For most Americans, the refrigerator is a place where food exists … and has ALWAYS existed. Most children in America today have never wondered if they were going to be able to eat. The irony, perhaps, is that most people in America don’t have much money … but that’s just it: you don’t need much money to buy tasty, fast food. There’s an old saying: “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.” Some people will never be able to reconcile themselves with fitness and a constantly full refrigerator. But having a food surplus is not a “habit.” It’s a life, a society, an entire nation. If and when health becomes a priority for parents in America, it’s conceivable that we’ll be able to lessen the obesity wave. Until then, it is an individual choice … and sadly, immediate pleasure usually wins out against long-term pleasure in human animals.

Obesity is a choice! People just need to choose the correct foods that they eat.

This calls for no debate...Obesity is a disease although it can be choose through our habits such excessive eating, sedimentary lifestyles and so on. Are you happy now?

tough question... in effect the condition can be classified as a disease - BUT in most cases it was brought about by choice... albeit bad choices. just like alcoholism is considered to be a disease - but it was also brought about by choice. at the end of the day, both the onset and the cure of the "disease" is also a choice... as you rightly said: you can choose to shift the blame, or choose to deal with it. your choice. just my 0.02 cents

Obesity is absolutely, positively a choice. Not a choice to be obese, but more accurately a choice to disregard one's health in favor of the instant gratification of eating.

Good information Obesity is a choice, all we need just to chose to change our habits or ignore. thanks

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.