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Obesity: Why are we killing ourselves with food?
Obesity causes up to 365,000 deaths in the USA alone per year (1) however, it is one of the leading preventable causes of death world wide. To put this number In context, World War Two caused around 400,000 deaths in the US. Each year, obesity is having a World War II scale impact in the US alone.
Reading this sentence on my page over and over again, I struggle to comprehend the reality behind the words written down in front of me. It's not as though I've never read or heard a statistic like this before- but I think I am finally making a link between the number of deaths associated with obesity, and the fact that it is one of the most preventable diseases world wide. Effectively, we are killing ourselves with food at a rate equivalent to having one "world war two" sized event per year. I for one, would like to know why.
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Let's expand this out a little- and look at the definition of obesity, and some more facts:
- Obesity is a medical condition which involves the accumulation of fat on a body to the point that is increases the risk of having an adverse effect on that body's health.
- A body mass index of 30 or more classifies someone into the obese category. Body fat percentage, waist to hip ratio and other cardiovascular risk factors can be taken into account too.
- Australia is classified as one of the .. ahem.. fattest nations in the developed world, with more than 5,000,000 people thought to be classified as obese (2)
- Obesity is estimated to cost Australia more than $56 billion dollars per year this amount is growing rapidly (3)
From an Aussie perspective, Monash University released research quoting that saying that 14,000,000 (fourteen million) people in Australia are either overweight or obese. We already know that approximately five million people are considered to be obese- but now we can add to that nine million more that are classified as being overweight- and it is clear that we have some issues in our modest population of around 22 million that need to be addressed.
So what is going on that is so bad in our lives that causing us to literally eat ourselves to the point of self harm- or worse- death? It can be confusing, as on the other end of the scale of our troublesome relationship with food- there is significant proportion of the population that struggle with warped body image, under-eating and resulting diseases such as anorexia- so it is really hard to comprehend that as a race we struggle massively with a healthy attitude to food. Who out there is getting it right, and what are they doing that is different from the majority of the rest of us?
You will see through my blog that I have in the past had an up and down relationship with food on a smaller scale. I have never been classed as obese or even close, however my weight does tend to fluctuate fairly frequently. It is something I am much more in control of nowadays- but despite my understanding and focus on eating well and exercising for vitality and energy, I wouldn't say that a healthy attitude to food comes naturally to me all of the time, in fact it is often a downright struggle or even non existent at times.
So let's look at some common factors that have been known to contribute to obesity:
- Emotional factors weigh in, the term "emotional eater" is commonplace now. Emotional eating in my view is a short term 'feel good' fix- you feel down, you eat something, you feel good (for a while).
- Many people are unable to be active physically due to other illnesses.
- Many say they are simply "too busy" to eat well- or even unable to afford to eat well- is this you? Has the price of fresh food and the unbalanced work/ life culture seen you become obese or put on weight?
- Injuries can contribute to inactivity.
- Thyroid problems have been sighted as a factor.
- Depression and medications for depression can be a contributing factor to emotional eaters and medication can contribute to longer term weight fluctuations.
What else? I want to hear from you about your thoughts on overeating and obesity so we can look into them some more- and let's try to support each other to overcome this epidemic together by addressing some of the the factors behind it. Please contribute your ideas, struggles, successes and any support you have for others here.
I look forward to hearing from you and trying to help tackle this issue one case at a time.
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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 03/28/2020
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