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For Physicians

Health Facts

Overweight and obesity are currently considered a major epidemic in the USA, with 66% of adult Americans being overweight/obese, 32% of adults Americans being obese, and 32% of children 5-14 years of age being obese. Following are some worrisome facts about obesity and why something got to be done.

Some alarming facts related to an elevated BMI, overweight, and obesity:

  • In 2001, obesity passed smoking and is now considered the #1 preventable killer in America.
  • There are far more overweight and obese Americans than smokers or chronic problem drinkers.
  • Overweight and obesity cause more chronic illness than poverty, tobacco, alcohol, and HIV combined.
  • Treatment of overweight and obesity receives far less attention and funding.
  • Increase in BMI of 1 unit (5 lbs of body fat) increases heart disease event risk by 10%.
  • Risk of diabetes starts to increase with BMI >22. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study Group showed that weight loss of 5-10% can decrease development of diabetes by 58%.
  • A decrease of BMI by 2 units (about 10 lbs) decreases risk of arthritis by 50%.
  • Sleep apnea occurs in up to 50% of severely obese individuals.
  • For every 1 unit increase in BMI at age 70, Alzheimer’s risk increases by 36% in women.
  • Studies reveal that women with BMI >29 vs. <21 double their risk of colon cancer.
  • There is a higher mortality from breast cancer for obese women.
  • A gain of >20 lbs from age 18 to midlife doubles the risk of breast cancer.
  • Occurrence of endometrial cancer is 3 times higher in obese women.
  • Other cancers linked to obesity include: prostate, gallbladder, ovarian, cervix, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and leukemia.
  • Other diseases associated with obesity include: fatty liver, gallstones, abnormal menses, infertility, polycystic ovaries, metabolic syndrome, impotence, skin problems (acanthosis nigricans, skin tags), venous problems (varicose veins, phlebitis, blood clots), pancreatitis, gout, lipid disorders, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.

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