Obesity is a worldwide problem. The World Health Organization estimates that 13% of the word’s adults are obese (11% of men and 15% of women). In America, that number is closer to 40%. 93 million Americans over 18 are obese. The problem is not just obesity, but the risk of other health conditions that often accompany obesity, like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
You don’t have to be overweight or obese for the obesity epidemic to concern you. With 40% of adult Americans having obesity, chances are it affects someone in your family, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, or someone you care about.
Here are five things you should know about obesity:
- There is no clear cause of obesity. It’s likely a complex web of lifestyle factors, genetics, and environmental causes. Studies have shown that the same amount of calories and exercise have different effects on people. And genetic mutations have been shown to contribute to weight.
- Females with a high BMI may be at risk for fertility problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, ovulation may be affected in women with obesity, and even in women with normal ovulation obesity may impact their ability to conceive. In addition, having a high BMI during pregnancy may contribute to pregnancy complications (including miscarriage, stillbirth, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure) and risks to the baby’s health (including childhood asthma, birth defects, and fetal macrosomia).
- Obesity is expensive. It’s expensive for the individual person, and it’s expensive as a nation. According to the CDC, “The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.”
- Sleep habits can contribute to obesity. Daytime napping and shift work can contribute to obesity in those who are predisposed. Too little sleep and too much sleep can also contribute.
- There are only three states or territories in America that have obesity (BMI>30) rates of 25% or less: Hawaii (25%), Colorado (23.8%), and Washington, D.C (23.8%). Twelve states have obesity rates greater than 35% among adults over 18: Indiana (35.3%), West Virginia (39.7%), Louisiana (35.9%), Alabama (36.1%), Mississippi (40.8%), Michigan (36%) Arkansas (37.4%), Kentucky (36.5%), Kansas (35.2%) and Oklahoma (36.8%), Tennessee (36.5%), South Carolina (35.4%). Some researchers believe that the estimated percentages of obesity are actually lower than the reality, meaning adults are likely more obese than they are reporting. This is because most estimates rely on self reported weight and height. Adults tend to report their heights as higher than they actually are, meaning their BMI is probably higher than they are reporting.
If you are overweight or obese and have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight, you may be a candidate for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA is a board-certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery. Dr. Shillingford performs hundreds of bariatric procedures each year including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap band surgery, and revisional surgery. His weight loss surgery patients receive superior care at Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where Dr. Shillingford proudly serves as Medical Director. Call Dr. Shillingford today at (561) 483-8840 to see if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery and register for a free informational session.