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Overweight and Obesity

Muscle weighs 6 times more than fat, you and your doctor can determine together if you are simply over your ideal weight, Obese or Extremely Obese which can be called Morbidly Obese. One of the ways to do this is by using the BMI which stands for Body Mass Index, it measures the percent of body fat. 30% = Obese. 40%= Extreme Obesity. If you are one of the over 60% of Americans who need to lose weight, now is the time to do it. Your life may depend on it.


  • An estimated 8,830,000 children and adolescents ages 6 - 19 are considered overweight or obese, based on the 95th percentile of body mass index values in the 2000 CDC growth chart for the United States.
  • Based on data from 1999-2000, the prevalence of overweight in children ages 6 - 11 increased from 4.2 percent to 15.3 percent compared with data from 1963-65. The prevalence of overweight in adolescents ages 12-19 increased from 4.6 percent to 15.5 percent.
  • Over 10 percent of preschool children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight up from 7 percent in 1994.
  • The prevalence of obesity (BMI 30 or higher in 2001 increased 5.6 percent between 2000 and 2001.
  • Since 1991 the prevalence of those who are obese increased by 75 percent. Among states in 2001, Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity and Colorado had the lowest.


  • Each year an estimated 300,000 U.S. adults die of causes related to obesity.
  • Obesity profoundly affects life span. A 20-year old white male with a BMI greater than 45 is estimated to have 13 years of life lost due to obesity. A 20-year old white woman with a BMI greater than 45 is estimated to have 8 years of life lost due to obesity. For black men the estimate is 20 years lost and for black women the estimate is 5 years lost.


  • Nationally, the estimated annual cost attributable to obesity-related diseases is about $100 billion dollars.
  • Among children and adolescents, annual hospital costs related to obesity were $127 million during 1997 - 99.
What Can You Do?

If there is one thing overweight people are experts at, it is losing weight. Of course, that is step one but your heart health depends on you keeping the weight you loss off. So, you must literally make this commitment for life.

  1. Eat breakfast; you are 450 times more likely to be overweight if you skip breakfast. Find replacements for the high calorie, high fat breakfast foods. Eggbeaters, soymeats, low carb breads, no sugar jelly is all there for you. Or if you are in a hurry, read the labels on cereals and find the ones that suit your tastes.
  2. Plan your daily intake in the morning after breakfast. Know what lunch will be, what dinner will be and what snacks you will have and when you will have them. As you eat, keep track of what you ate and the calorie and fat content. Stay within your calorie budget. Some foods are just too expensive to eat.
  3. Reduce the size of your eating plates, always eat sitting down at a table and make your food attractive. Use color and texture to fool the eye and the stomach. When eating prepared meals from the freezer section, always serve them on a china plate; never eat from the plastic container.
  4. When you find yourself in the kitchen looking for a snack, have a glass of water first. Hunger is frequently mistaken for thirst. Besides you need at least 64 oz of water a day. That is 8 cups. Make sure you get them as it will help remove toxins as you burn fat.
  5. Lose the sugared soft drinks. New substitutes are everywhere. Diet cola that has been made with Splenda or has had lemon or lime added will be the easiest substitutes. If you can’t do that begin mixing half sugar with half diet, you will get used to the taste very quickly. Try plain soda water with a twist of lime when you are out in a restaurant.
  6. Buy a book, join a weight loss group, ask a friend to join you.
  7. Be happy, this one change can add years of quality to your life. Take control.
Success Stories - Overweight and Obesity

Susan, 57
My earliest bad memories about weight are going to Girl Scout camp in about the 6th Grade. The first thing they made us all do was get on a scale in front of everyone else. I remember weighing 142 pounds. I wasn’t fat, or at least I didn’t feel fat, but most of my friends seemed to weigh 100 or 110 pounds. I must be fat. The truth was, my body and weight were perfect for my frame and development level. My friends were just lagged behind me. I had breasts and hips and great muscles. But, it began then.

By the time I graduated from high school I weighed 162 pounds and was a size 14. I felt perfectly normal, had lots of boyfriends and was very active. Later, I married and got pregnant. During my first pregnancy I was very ill with morning sickness, but for me it lasted all day long. The doctor told me drink cola it will help settle your stomach. I did, it worked, but I learned to live on the cola since I couldn’t keep food down. When I delivered an 8-pound baby girl, I was down to a size 12, the smallest I had ever been. I was ecstatic. That was February. By May of that same year I had gained 80 pounds. No one could figure out what had happened to me. I was back in maternity clothes, but I wasn’t pregnant. I was unable to get the weight off until 5 years later I became pregnant. Again sick, I lost all 80 pounds during my pregnancy. Now, on birth control pills, my weight stabilized at 170 pounds. I felt myself again. Then at age 47, the weight came back. Too many colas, too many cookies, too much stress I hadn’t dealt with. I was miserable. The ‘hormonal’ fat had returned.

After all these years, I didn’t care why it was there. I was determined to lose it. Optifast worked, but was terribly expensive and after the 3 month fast, the weight came back. Weight Watchers worked, but I was too busy to go to the meetings. Finally, I took control myself. I had to switch to diet soda and find substitutes for the high sugar foods I craved. I hated the taste of diet soda, so I began by mixing half sugared cola with half diet soda. Then I discovered lemon helped cut the aftertaste. Finally, I kicked that sugar habit.

Over the years it has become easier with the advent of labels that give you correct serving size and the carbohydrates and fat contents of food. Every day I have to deal with my addiction to sugar, and most days I stay in control. I use Healthy Choice prepared meals to keep my calorie count under 1500 calories a day. They make decision making so easy, and there are now so many choices. Add a salad and you have an excellent healthy meal. And because I feel better at my normal weight of 162 pounds I exercise more. The combination works for me. But, it is never easy. I decided that I wanted to get old someday, but I didn’t want to be old and fat. This is a battle that can only be won by making myself a priority. I deserve quality foods, I deserve fresh food, I deserve to treat myself well. I deserve to love your body. We all deserve these things.

Don, 49
Two failed marriages left me fat and diabetic. Or was it the other way around? I’ll never know. And it really doesn’t matter. I am fat and diabetic. I was afraid to find out what sort of condition my heart was in. I refused to see a doctor because I knew the news would be all bad.

Every morning I got up, skipped breakfast thinking, I’ll save those calories. But, around 10:00 in the morning I would search out the donut box in the kitchen at work. Two donuts were just a snack. Around 11:00 I would go to the pop machine and get a coke to carry me to lunch. If my sugar level dropped, I felt bad, so I kept candy in my desk drawer. No one ever saw me eat it, but I could finish off a bag every other day.

Most days, I worked through lunch and just grabbed a bag of chips from the machines, and another coke. Dinner, well who wants to eat alone. I’d pick up a pizza on the way home and eat it all by myself in front of the television. A 2-litre bottle of coke would accompany the feast. Sometime around 10:00 pm, a bowl of ice cream would send me off to bed feeling satisfied and loved. And then it happened...

My company was changing insurance plans and each employee had to take a physical and depending on the condition of our health, we would be charged more to be covered. Was that legal? How could they do that? Well, they did it. My co-pay tripled and with 2 ex-wives to support, I simply couldn’t afford to remain unhealthy. 380 pounds, a cholesterol level of 320, a triglyceride level of 480 and a fasting blood sugar of 250 all made me a bad risk for any insurance company.

For some reason, my blood pressure seemed normal. With that one piece of good news, I set out on a total make over. My life was going to change. With the help of my physician, we used the reducing numbers to track my success. Of course, medication was a part of the plan, as was my learning to eat 3 normal meals a day and choosing nutritiously wise snacks. I learned to love the taste of vegetables and reveled in a piece of fresh fruit. I like the way people looked at me when I was eating a piece of celery at work. I was regaining the respect I had lost. I was in control of me and it felt good. I replaced all the soft drinks with water, which wasn’t easy. When dining out, I ordered soda water with lime. O calories, but it looks great and tastes refreshing. I have not yet won the war, but I am winning the battles.

I am now down to 220 pounds, my cholesterol level is 180, my triglyceride level is normal and my fasting blood sugar is 102. I may not be perfect, but I am approaching normal on all levels. When I started watching the test levels and making their reduction my priority, everything changed and my fat just began to fall off. Good riddance.