Obesity began a noticeable rise in the 1980s in the United States. Since then, the problem has become an epidemic; significant populations are obese in 30 countries. Despite the increased awareness, the upward trend continues. In the U.S., more than 70% of us are overweight or obese, and a large number are children. Obesity is at play behind many of the major diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Every 1% decrease in obesity in our country can save close to $90 billion healthcare dollars, by government estimates.
It is common knowledge that obesity comes about when food intake exceeds activity, though some people are genetically predisposed to it. Genetics can’t account for all of the obesity trend: it is but a slight percentage. What then can explain the epidemic?
Many experts have concluded that it is a combination of physiological and behavioral factors. These factors are triggered by the changes in the food supply and the reduction in physical activity.
What are people eating now that they weren’t before? Some have concluded that the types of food have not changed much; we simply eat a lot more than we used to. Others propose that the availability of food and the processing of foods has created an abundance of products that contain hidden calories, principally, the additive corn syrup. Still, other experts note that eating patterns have changed from the traditional “three square meals” to ubiquitous snacking and eating throughout the day and late into the night.
One perspective about obesity and lack of exercise asserts that people still recreationally exercise, but the nature of their vocational work is very sedentary. The lack of physical activity in the workplace results in a surplus of food taken in compared to the physical activity on a given day. Experts note that only 20% of American jobs require high levels of activity, a considerable drop in the last 50 years.
Other factors are now being taken into account as drivers for obesity. When added to the components mentioned earlier, they create the final tipping point into obesity. These factors include poor sleep hygiene, overuse of medications, and late-night eating. These alter metabolism and affect the microbiome inside the body. Such alteration of the wake-sleep cycle and digestive system results in poor use and storage of nutrients in the body.
There are many pieces of the puzzle to solving obesity in the population and the individual. A personalized approach is necessary to determine what causes weight gain in a person and how to achieve weight loss. As you read this, if you find yourself to be overweight and are having difficulty losing unwanted fat, you may need to consult with a professional to determine which factors are keeping you from getting the results you seek. QCBN
By Clarke Krugman
Please feel free to call and consult with Clarke Krugman, AGNP-C, Nurse Practitioner, if you are having concerns about weight gain.
Clarke Krugman AGNP-C CNS NE is the owner of Vitality Care Center and a certified Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner and Educator. For more information, call 928-515-0804, visit the Facebook Page @vitalitycareprescott or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.