Obesity, What's The 'Big' Deal
Obesity, what's the 'big' deal?
This article has been provided by Dr. M. Montgomery at
Dr. Montgomery is a practicing Chiropractor in Saskatoon,
Nowadays, so much of the public is obese (fat) that it is the
- norm'. So much so, that we are starting to ignore this
Thankfully, the Surgeon General has issued a warning about
the plague of obesity that has been considered to be as
significant or moreso than the warning issued about the
hazards of cigarette smoke.
As long as you are carrying extra weight (beyond the
acceptable upper limits of body fat), you increase your risks
for a variety of health complaints.
These complaints and risks include conditions such as
diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure,
osteoarthritis, and more.
Definition of Obesity and Overweight
Obesity has been defined as an abnormal accumulation of
body fat in proportion to body size. Overweight persons,
although still technically obese, will have a body-fat
proportion that is intermediate between normal and
Some Common Excuses for Being Obese
This section will probably ruffle the feathers of some
people who read it. It is not meant to be demeaning or
belittling. Rather it is meant to shed light on some of the
- unhealthy' thought patterns that contribute to obesity, its
consequences, and other conditions.
A lot of people will say to themselves and others
- Yeah, I'm a bit overweight but I feel okay about
it' or 'Maybe I'm carrying a few extra pounds,
but so is everyone else' or even
- I might be fat, but I can lose it anytime I want - .
Other things that you might hear someone else say are
things like 'Jeez, you look pretty good ''
- for someone who just had a baby' or '
- for someone who has had three kids' (my wife
absolutely hates hearing those 'compliments') or
- for someone who hasn't played hockey in ten
Then of course there are the 'medical' excuses. 'I've got
metabolic syndrome', 'ever since my surgery, I've had
no energy', 'my knees hurt', 'I have arthritis', 'It's
hereditary', 'I've got asthma' '
All of the above probably have a seed of truth in them for
many people. However, more often than not, these
excuses are a way to avoid doing something that you
don't want to do, such as getting more exercise, or
controlling your eating habits.
Why does this occur? Because we are in D.E.N.I.A.L.
(an addictions counselor/mental health worker told me
that it stood for Don't Even (k)no(w) I Am Lying).
Today's life is, no doubt, incredibly hectic and seems to
be getting moreso every passing year. Gone are the days
when most people in our society must do heavy physical
labour every day just to survive. Automation has created
many labour saving devices. This in turn has created a
largely sedentary, inactive society.
Look at the kids today. Instead of being outside playing
shinny or a game of pick-up basketball, or any of
thousands of other outdoor activities, they are inside
playing video games or getting mesmerized by the T.V.
Patricia Markham Risica (2) writes that '
The number of people affected by obesity
continues to rise along with the prevalence of
comorbid diseases that result from this condition.
What could be considered the modern-day plague,
caused by higher consumption and less
expenditure of energy, has been broken down into
its economic components by Eric Finkelstein.[1,2]
The likely economic culprits for the marked
increases observed in the 1980s and '90s include
the increased availability of higher-calorie-dense
foods, increased portion sizes, and lower overall
costs of food along with increased exposure to
television advertising of the same products. These
trends are coupled with the earlier trends from the
'60s and '70s of lower energy expenditure at work,
more women in the workforce, and not making
family meals at home. The increased prevalence
of obesity carries a parallel increased demand for
economic resources; 5% to 7% of total medical
expenditures are already being devoted to this
very costly condition.[1,3,4]
And she further writes that '
Obesity and overweight (the term preferred by the
American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, and other
organizations when referring to children and
adolescents due to the potential negative
connotations associated with "obesity")
represent a challenge of vast dimensions to the
public health community, with causes of the
epidemic permeating American society.
Americans are surrounded by facilitators of an
eat-more/expend-less society -- from the
individual and family; to the food producers,
processors, sellers, and advertisers; to the city
planners of our neighborhoods; to the business
organizations that demand our time during the day
and the media that entertain us in the evening.
Clinicians generally are not equipped to control
this epidemic that greets them every day.
Behavioral change counseling is not in their
repertoire and effective treatments are not readily
available; in fact, even when they are available,
such programs are usually not reimbursed by
In today's society, the cost of eating in a healthy fashion
is more often than not, much more expensive than eating
all of the garbage that is available. Additionally, in
virtually all processed foods, there is some sort of
additive which will increase hunger and cravings.
(reminds me of a line from 'So I Married An Axe
Murderer' with Mike Myers were his father was
discussing 'the Colonel' and how he puts an addictive
chemical in his chicken to 'make you crave it
fortnightly!') Nowadays the home vegetable garden plot
is fast disappearing which again will limit the availability
of wholesome produce at a lower cost.
Look at artificial sweeteners. They have the ability to
artificially increase your hunger. Not only that, but when
they break down in your body, some very harmful
chemicals can appear. One particular artificial sweetener
is in over 2000 products! Think of the impact on society.
Try finding chewing gum without it.
All of the above can contribute in some small or even in
some large way to increase the increasingly present
burden of obesity.
Until next time -
Yours in Health,
Dr. M. Montgomery @ www.healthyunderstanding.com
1. Obesity. Jonathan Q. Purnell, M.D.,
2. Prevention of Overweight and Obesity: Focus on
Children and Adolescents. Patricia Markham
Risica, Dr.PH, RD, Medscape.com
Disclaimer: As always, check with your health care provider to see
if this information applies to you. Due diligence is your
responsibility. This information is meant to supplement your
knowledge, not to replace your own decision making process or take
the place of your health care provider.
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About the Author
Dr. Montgomery is the creator of www.HealthyUnderstanding.com. He is in private Chiropractic practice in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. He has practised in both Canada and Australia.