The obesity epidemic is a national crisis as well as a heavy burden to public health. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in partnership with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, have brought the research into the spotlight with The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary premiering last night on HBO.
The facts about overweight and obesity in the United States come with their own serving of shock value. With 36 percent of adults and 18 percent of children obese, this campaign aims to raise awareness, and kick-start a change toward a healthier population.
Less than one third of Americans are capable of maintaining a healthy body weight (classified by body mass index). Thomas Frieden, the Director of the CDC, explains that the damage to health is vast, there is not a single part of the body that is unaffected by overweight and obesity. The statistics are staggering:
- Nearly 66 percent of people with arthritis are overweight or obese
- Risk for kidney disease increases by 83 percent
- Risk of dementia increases by 80 percent
Sharing the spotlight of this epidemic, risk for diabetes is on the rise. Now more than 79 million Americans are prediabetic and 25 million have the full diagnosis. The truth of fat is sobering, and unfortunately our society is in the throngs of a struggle. Armed with information, this documentary presents the problem but also prompts the road to recovery.
The practical reality is that fat is not just unsightly, but dangerous. However, the danger from weight gain is also reversible. Samuel Klein, Director for the Center of Human Nutrition and Washington University School of Medicine, explains that a small amount of weight loss, 5 to 10 percent of body weight, is beneficial to health.
An obese person may not be at elevated metabolic risk, depending upon the location of their body fat (below the skin, around the abdomen, within the organs). Rudolph Leibel, co-director of the New York Obesity Research Center explained that abdominal obesity (produced by visceral fat) is related to the risks for diabetes, heart disease, and heart attack. It is the location of body fat that can differentiate the level of health risks faced by two individuals that appear to be the same body weights.
In addition to the threats of abdominal obesity, fatty liver disease is also on the rise, and perhaps playing a bigger part in what deems fat detrimental. The liver, Klein says, “has a central role in causing or being involved in the metabolic complications of obesity…such as diabetes, high blood fats and blood lipids and eventually heart disease and death.” About 30 percent of all adults and 38 percent of obese children have fatty liver disease.
In an unorthodox experiment, Klein induced weight gain in already overweight individuals. What he found was that a 5 percent increase in body weight over a period of a few months led to a 160 percent increase in liver fat. The good news, he suggests is that “we know that when you begin the weight-loss process, you’ll very rapidly reduce the fat content of your liver. In fact, we found that 48 hours of calorie restriction causes a 25 percent reduction in liver fat content” – that should be a powerful motivator for anyone overweight considering a calorie-restricted program such as that of an Isagenix system!
The documentary being featured on HBO is the central point of the movement toward getting over obesity. The first two segments of the film, Consequences and Choices premiered last night, May 14, and laid the framework for the last segments Children in Crisis and Challenges, set to air this evening, May 15.
Overcoming over-weight and obesity is a commitment to your health, the health of your children, and the health of a nation too large. Weight loss is not a fad, but a lifestyle. Choosing systems like Isagenix that offer nutrient-dense meal options with an emphasis on portion control, and coupling that with physical activity, is integral to gain ground in the fight against fat.
The benefits of weight loss are rapid. Metabolic improvements are not always seen by the eye, but liver and visceral fat are the first fat stores to be mobilized during calorie reduction, elimination of which could vastly improve your health long-term. The cleansing program that is recommended by Isagenix delivers upon these same principles. Detoxifying your body through fat mobilization, particularly in these risky regions, contributes to overall weight loss, wellbeing, and longevity.
As portrayed in this documentary, most Americans struggle maintaining their weight. Not just a question of genetics and environment, as David Altshuler, MD, PhD, suggests in the documentary, this crisis is not a question of nature versus nurture, but instead is a problem with “nature and nurture.” Ranging from food policy to mood and stress, the struggle for a healthy body weight becomes increasingly complex.
Previously reviewed on our Isagenix Health Blog, mindful eating is shown to reduce stress and support weight loss. Elissa Epel from the Univeristy of California San Francisco studies stress as a driver of uncontrolled eating. As she puts it, the problem is not “what you’re eating, but what’s eating you.” Overeating in response to stress is as much a problem for the body as a problem of the mind.
How to lose weight is a question in which Isagenix can offer a practical, aggressive answer through complete, balanced systems. Your risk for chronic disease can be reduced within the first two days of starting a calorie-restricted regimen with Cleanse Days and Shake Days. The addition of Ionix Supreme can also support battling stress. Why take your time making the decision, when it could be taking time off your lifespan?
Get educated and get involved. Confront America’s obesity epidemic by tuning into the second segment of The Weight of the Nation tonight on HBO. For more information, podcasts, and access to the full documentary, visit: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/.