PrintSAB Chair Message: Rising Obesity Rate and Its Consequences

CDC map of obesity in the United States.

By Dennis “D” Harper, DO, Isagenix Science Advisory Board Chair

I’m surely not alone in feeling alarmed when I read that the obesity epidemic is worse now than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently posted a website with a map of the United States showing the changes in obesity that have taken place over the last 25 years. I strongly suggest that you use this link and see for yourself.

Just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I would like to share with you the following statistics:

  • In 1985, the highest state obesity rate was equal to or less than 14 percent.  Six years later it increased.
  • In 1991, the highest state obesity rate was equal to or less than 19 percent.  Six years later it increased.
  • In 1997, the highest state obesity rate was equal to or greater than 20 percent.  Four years later it increased.
  • In 2001, the highest state obesity rate was equal to or greater than 25 percent.  Four years later it increased.
  • In 2005, the highest state obesity rate was equal to or greater than 30 percent.
  • Currently there are 12 states that are in this category and one state is at 34 percent.
  • In 1990, 10 states were equal to or less than 10 percent obesity range.
  • In 2000, no states were in the equal to or less than 10 percent obesity range.
  • In 2010, no states were in the equal to or less than 20 percent obesity range.
  • Sixty-eight percent of the American population is considered to be either overweight or obese!

We must ask ourselves what 68 percent means for our future. We know that obesity is related to at least 40 diseases, a few of the most serious being heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. The medical costs for obesity are costing our country about $147 billion per year.  The real cost, however, is to human beings as we confront emotional as well as physical decreases in quality of life that accompany obesity.

Now, almost one in five children are obese. Most of those children are reaching obesity by age 6. We are now seeing children who are having heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. As others have  noted, this may be the first generation of children who are not expected to outlive their parents.

Childhood diabetes was almost always considered to be type 1 (juvenile diabetes) in the past, but now we are seeing many children with type 2 diabetes.  The difference between these two is that type 1 is a condition where the body’s immune system compromises the pancreatic beta islet cells, which are needed to produce insulin. Consequently, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. Type 2 is often associated with obesity and is different because the body’s immune system does not compromise the beta islet cells. Insulin resistance occurs in obesity because receptors begin to lose their ability to absorb the glucose. The pancreas then produces more and more insulin until exhaustion.

The problems that insulin resistance causes are compounded as a child or adult continues to gain additional weight. The reason for this is because glucose is not taken up by the cells and then it is turned into a triglyceride and stored as additional fat.

As a physician I find these facts extremely disheartening. These are the reasons why I believe everyone should be on Isagenix products. It’s time to be proactive and get more involved with the obesity epidemic that plagues our society. We must help ourselves and our children to overcome what we will find in Pandora’s box of obesity, or we will face unbelievable consequences now and in the future.

Dennis Harper, DO

Dennis “D” Harper, D.O., is chair of the Isagenix Science Advisory Board. He has been in general medical practice for 26 years and was instrumental in getting the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) implemented in 1994. Dr. Harper was a voting member of the American Osteopathic Association, former President of Physicians for Progressive Medicine, former Chairman for the Osteopathic Licensing Board for the state of Utah and was a Fellow for the Federation of State Medical Boards. Dr. Harper is the author of “Cleansing for Life: Nature’s Best Kept Health Secret.”

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