Sunday, August 18, 2013

American Adults Are Overweight

A headline in today’s local newspaper proclaimed that more than two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese.  We have heard that so often that it is no longer shocking.  

What is shocking is this picture of Jack and Jackie Kennedy taken in 1955.  I can already hear your comments, “OMG, they are too skinny!” or “They are so thin, they must have an eating disorder.”  

Do any of you remember when most Americans were this thin?

Today American women seem to be on a perpetual diet, but they don’t seem to be getting any thinner. They say things such as, “I wish I could lose some weight, but I just don’t have the discipline,” or “I really know I should lose some weight, but it’s not that important to me right now.”  Or, we hear the Oprah-like statement, “We just need to be happy with our body, no matter what size we are.”

As a health coach, I want to help people get healthy - and, overweight or obese is NOT healthy.  In fact, I’ve set a goal to help 500 women become healthy.  

How am I going to define “healthy?”

Since it’s important to use objective measures rather than just asking women how they feel, let me explain what I’m going to use.

1.) BMI under 24.9 – To find your BMI, put your current weight and height in the BMI calculator.  If you are in the normal range, “good for you!”

Being overweight or obese is NOT a cosmetic problem.  That extra weight raises your risk for serious health problems such as: gallstones, type 2 diabetes, abnormal blood fats such as high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoarthritis, infertility, coronary artery disease, a stroke and sleep apnea. Medical care related to obesity in our country in 2002 was estimated to be $100 billion.  

2.) Blood Pressure under 120/80 – Blood pressure tends to rise with age if you are not following a healthy lifestyle.  Nearly 1 in 3 American women has high blood pressure.  You can prevent high blood pressure by reducing sodium (salt) intake, being active, and keeping a normal BMI.  High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease.  To measure your blood pressure, you can schedule an appointment with your physician or go to your local pharmacy and use their FREE blood pressure cuff.

3.) Total cholesterol under 150 mg/dl. – A high cholesterol level puts you at greater risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke and cancer.  Lower blood cholesterol levels are linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer and stroke.  To get a cholesterol test, you can give blood at your local blood bank and they will usually send your cholesterol reading for FREE.  You can also schedule a finger prick at a local Walgreen’s, look up an on-line cholesterol screening test or make an appointment with your physician. 

If the readings of your three screenings are not in the “ideal” range, you are welcome to sign up for a coaching program.

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© 2007-2013 Melinda Coker

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