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Obesity in America
More than one in three United States adults were considered to have obesity, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; (NIDDK) 2013-2014 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). One in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity and about one in six children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered obese. There is a high percentage of obesity in America — the country is among the most obese in the world. A high-fat, high-calorie diet and the common, sedentary lifestyle of Americans are both big contributors to these facts.
Health Risks of Obesity
Being obese puts a person at risk for various health effects and negative consequences. Obesity contributes to high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. People that are obese are at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and several types of cancer. Furthermore, obesity contributes to coronary heart disease and stroke. People struggling with their weight often develop mental illness including clinical depression and anxiety. Excessive body weight also puts unneeded strain on the body and can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues.
Fighting Obesity with Wellness
To improve their quality of life, overweight and obese people should work toward a healthier lifestyle with things such as eating a balanced diet and adding exercise to their weekly routines. To combat obesity, it is important to focus on overall wellness and self-care. Use the following tips to help structure a healthier lifestyle that will improve longevity and mood.
- Find an enjoyable workout routine you look forward. Enroll a friend or family member to be a workout buddy to add a social aspect to fitness. You can also encourage each other to stick to exercising and push each other harder.
- Keep a stock of exercise equipment on hand that you can use when crunched for time. Essential home gym equipment includes kettlebells, resistance bands, a Swiss ball, dumbbells, a balance trainer, a pull-up bar, suspension trainers and a pedometer.
- Use your hands to help with portion control. With every meal, eat two palms worth of lean protein, two fists of vegetables, two cupped hands worth of whole grains, and only two thumbs’ worth of healthy fats including avocado, nuts or olive oil.
- Don’t simply focus on the health of your body — work on your mental health, as well. Good mental health is a key to weight loss.
- Get plenty of rest. Practice good sleep hygiene practices like putting away screens an hour before bedtime, showering before going to sleep and curating your bedroom to be a calming, serene environment that encourages rest.
- Work on practicing mindfulness in your day-to-day life. Mindfulness helps people banish negative thoughts so they have better control of their emotions and their behaviors that result from them. Try out meditation or yoga to improve your focus and learn how to use mindfulness in other areas of life to reduce anxiety and pain.
- Use positive reinforcement for encouragement. Treat yourself to a massage after a grueling workout or buy yourself that new kitchen gadget that inspires you to cook. Don’t use food as a reward, as it is best to redefine food as fuel rather than a luxury or incentive.
Obesity affects millions of Americans young and old. The health risks that come with obesity can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life. Focusing on self-care while making positive changes that facilitate weight loss can help prevent illness and injury while also promoting happiness and overall wellness.