Obesity costs are high

Over 78 million people in the U.S. are considered obese putting them at a higher risk of negative health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Obesity continues to plague the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over one-third (nearly 35 percent or 78.6 million) of adults and 17 percent (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents, aged 2-19 years, are obese in this country. According to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, Michigan has the 17th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, with adult obesity at 30.7 percent in 2014, up from 22.1 percent in 2000 and from 13.2 percent in 1990.

How does obesity affect our health? People who are obese have a higher chance of developing certain health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Arthritis

Obesity is not only serious, it is costly. According to the CDC, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 and the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Are you concerned about your current weight? Perhaps your clothes are getting tighter or you’ve been told by your doctor that you need to lose weight because your blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels are too high. Adult body mass index (BMI) is a tool that you can use to determine if your weight is at a healthy level. Calculating your BMI will help determine if your range of weight is considered underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

You can access your weight on the CDC website by using the BMI calculator, BMI Index chart and screening tools to estimate weight status in relation to potential disease risk. If you find out you are overweight or obese, Michigan State University Extension recommends that you consult with your doctor so that your risk factors can be assessed and you can be given guidance on how to begin the process of losing weight through diet and exercise. Contact your local MSU Extension office for information about educational programs that focus on eating healthy, portion sizes and being more physically active. 

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