Okay, so admittedly obesity is not something that most of us want to be thinking about during the month-long fun-fest of the holidays. However, a recent prediction was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that predicted half of U.S. adults will have obesity by 2030. Of that population, it's estimated that half will have severe obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of greater than 30, with severe obesity registering at a BMI of >35. You can check out a BMI calculator here.
I spent the first ten years of my dietetics career in weight management, specifically weight loss surgery. I've seen thousands of people desperately unhappy with their weight, their physical appearance, or the health problems that obesity has brought on. Time and time again I'd hear patients express "if I knew it would become like this, I would have done things differently."
It is my strong opinion that obesity is easier to prevent than it is to erase once it's there. Does that mean obesity prevention is easy? Goodness, no! There are so many factors potentially working against a person- genetics, lifestyle, income, gender, race, and so on. You'll notice only one of those listed- lifestyle- is modifiable. That is where my role as a dietitian becomes so important!
I always used to tell my patients "I don't care what size pants you wear- I want you feeling happy, healthy, and in control of your lifestyle." I wholeheartedly mean it. When we fail to plan ahead or have specific goals or guidelines for ourselves, those lurking obesity-fueling habits can set in. A simple example? A workplace holiday potluck. Everyone ought to contribute something- why not bring a lean high protein option or veggie-packed option to share? Having something to rely on that you know is high nutrient will leave you less likely to graze on the massive sweets platters that are always present at potlucks!
The prediction really is dire- not only from a quality of life standpoint but a healthcare dollar standpoint. Our country spends the most money on obesity prevention than anywhere in the world, yet the disease of obesity continues to spread. I don't have a widespread solution. All I can do is be a source of knowledge and support for individuals who wish to change their weight or health status.
I challenge you to start thinking about your goals for 2019. What if any aspects of your health and wellness would you like to improve upon? As always you are welcome to email me directly with questions! In health,