According to the American Heart Association Statistical Fact Sheet 2009, among Americans age 20 and older, 145.0 million are overweight or have a BMI [Body Mass Index] of 25.0 or higher). The recommended Body Mass Index is in the range of 19 to 25, which means most Americans are overweight. This calls for a pragmatic action to deal with the growing problem in our society. BMI is the widely used index in determining different levels of weight from underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity. Being overweight increases the susceptibility to diabetes and heart attack (American Heart Association, 2009).
According to the BMI calculator I used in the internet, my BMI is 29.9. That means that I am overweight, and if I don’t start to change on how I eat and exercise, I will eventual become obese. American Heart Association (2009) says that obesity can degenerate into a heart attack. The reasons are that obesity: raises triglyceride and blood cholesterol; lowers the HDL cholesterol; raises levels of blood pressure; and induces diabetes.
This speech is going to make you think about how to change your eating habits, and how to motivate yourself on being physically active; because the number one cause of overweight and obesity is poor dietary habits and habitual low exercise.
A critical and in-depth study is done on the health consequences and cost of being overweight and obsess; how to eat healthier; and how to begin an exercise program. The three health consequences I am going to talk about are: Heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
1. Heart Disease and Stroke
Atherosclerosis which is linked to the cardiovascular disease is precipitated by increased cholesterol, fatty substances, calcium and other waste products in the cells. These substances are deposited on the walls of the arteries and widen the endothelium tissue lining. When the diameter of the artery shrinks, blood flow in the arteries decreases and impairs oxygen supplies. The plaques (clots) formed may rapture and cause a thrombus. This is lethal since it leads to a heart attack. If a blood vessel is blocked, then a stroke will occur (American Heart Association, 2009b). The cost of heart disease and stroke is staggering. In the United States alone, the cost associated with stroke and heart disease comprising of expenditures in health care and lost productivity and manpower resulting from disability and death is estimated to surpass $ 475 billion by the end of 2009. This cost is expected to be even greater on the population of United States. Currently about 1 in 3 Americans have at least one cardiovascular disease. Startling still the number of heart attacks and strokes in a single year are estimated at 935,000 and 795,000 respectively (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Overweight people are twice more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, a major of early death, heart disease, stroke, and blindness. The condition is linked to exercise and weight especially obesity and poor dietary habits. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body us unable to produce insulin that is enough and/or the cells in the body ignore insulin. Insulin is responsible for the conversion of sugar into glucose that is then absorbed into the blood. Insulin is also transfers sugar from the blood into the body cells. It therefore follows that if glucose does not reach the cells, then they will be starved and the accumulated glucose levels in the blood will affect the kidneys, eyes and heart. The estimated cost from Type 2 Diabetes in the United States is $ 98 billion (American Heart Association, 2009c)
Cancer is a number two killer disease in the United States. Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. They include Breast a, colon, uterus, cervix, ovary, gallbladder, prostrate. Cancer will result in devastating effects such as depression, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, pain, sorrow and sadness, panic attacks, sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional distress. According to the American Cancer Society (2009) a whopping third of 562,340 cancer deaths will be for reason of obesity or heavyweight, poor nutrition of physical inactivity. The National Institute of Health reported that the cost of cancer exceeded $ 228.1 billion in 2008 related to medical costs, morbidity costs, and indirect mortality costs. The cost of cancer in 2008 approximated at $500 billion.
Overweight and Obesity
Overweight and obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories from food than he or she burns; so the second point I am going to talk about is how to eat healthier and how to consume less calories. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that American men and women are consuming 2, 618 and 1,877 calories per day which is becoming the lead contributors to obesity. More and more carbohydrates in the form of sugars, grains, sweeteners trans and animal fats are being consumed more than before. The sedentary behavior is growing among the population who are spending more time on computers and television screens than exercising. We will use my Step 7-Action plan handout to see how this will get accomplished.
Starting an exercise program
Before you begin your exercise, you need to consult your doctor or physician. An appropriate exercised plan will; be developed depending on one’s disease history, and if there are nay associated medical disorders that may affect the exercise program. Diagnostic tests for complications such as chest pain, arthritis, leg pains, palpitations, heartbeat, swelling or pain in the joints among others need to be done. Those with diabetes or cystic fibrosis if they exercise they are in danger of dehydration. Similarly, those with seizures should not engage in swimming and not to mention those with enlarged spleen.
Aerobic exercises demand a little more than normal oxygen amounts which typically implies that the lungs and the heart is overworked in this case. Aerobic exercise will be carried out by biking, skating, running, stair climbing, treadmill and machines for elliptical training. Aerobic exercises reduce the amount of calories, and improve functioning of the cardiac muscles. The recommended schedule is to exercise for at least 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times in a week, with a warm up of and a cool up periods of 5 minutes. Running works best for longer muscles (Johnston, 2007)