Obesity and self-responsibility.
Obesity has quietly escalated during the course of one short lifetime. The environment of how we eat, what we eat, and when we eat has allowed waistlines and the obesity epidemic to calmly gain mass.
The HBO documentary series, Weight of the Nation examines how it has been possible that the epidemic has grown almost undisturbed, stealing self-identity and our health.
It is easy to recognize an obese or morbidly obese person and yet feel no connection to the obesity epidemic. This lack of attachment is part of the reason why it flourishes. If we are honest with ourselves and believe statistics, we see the obesity epidemic and therefore chronic illness lurks very close to home.
Michigan State University Extension identifies some of the chronic health risks associated with obesity:
- Coronary heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers, such as endometrial, breast and colon
- High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides
- Liver and gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Degeneration of cartilage and underlying bone within a joint (osteoarthritis)
- Reproductive health complications such as infertility
- Mental health conditions
Disease prevention and self-management are ammunition in the battle against obesity. Regularly visiting your doctor is the first point of contact in developing prevention and self-management strategies. Other strategies include:
- Good nutrition – Build healthier diets following ChooseMyPlate.gov.
- Physical activity – Adults who are physically active are healthier and less likely to develop many chronic diseases than adults who are inactive.
- Weight control – Know your Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
- Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance
- Appropriate use of medications
- Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
- Decision making
- How to evaluate new treatments