Obesity Now Classified as a Disease

Obesity. The word is all around us.

Every other night it seems that a new TV news report tells us about the obesity epidemic. When we walk down the street we see people who are hovering around the obesity levels. And on magazine stands we are confronted with a plethora of advice as to how we can get out of the obesity zone. The reason for all of this obesity focused information? We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that has no signs of abating – in fact it is getting worse.

Of course, millions of people are trying to lose weight every day. Unfortunately, more than 90% of them end up regaining any weight lost, and then some. The problem has become so endemic that many medical professionals are at a loss as to just how to stem it. In fact, the American Medical Association has recently officially classified obesity as a disease.

The AMA confirms that engaging in regular exercise is a key factor in coping with the obesity epidemic. Doing so will improve the person’s metabolic health while burning calories in the form of fat energy. They confirm the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that people should exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes per week.

A recent study, reported on in the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared the effect of obesity on life span as it relates to both age, gender and ethnic origin. The study found that obesity led to more years of lost life in younger people than in older ones. That means that maintaining obesity over a long period of time will lead to a shorter life span than gaining the weight later in life. Other findings were that obesity was more likely to shorten the life span of men than women and that black men were more susceptible to weight related life span shortening than white men.  An example offered by the researchers, is that a person aged 40 with a moderate level of obesity will have a shortened life span by 3 years.

In order to lose fat, and keep it off, people need to combine a sensible, healthy eating pattern with regular exercise. The ideal exercise mix will involve both cardiovascular and weight resistance training. For obese people, brisk walking is an excellent option that will be accessible and will not put undue stress on the joints. An alternative is to undertake a swimming program. Swimming is a great aerobic exercise. Anything done in the water is 6 times harder than out of it, providing great resistive stress during your workout. In addition, there is absolutely no joint strain when exercising in the water.


IDEA Fitness, September, 2013

  1. Am. Med. Assoc. , 289: 450-453, 2002

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