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 Weight Control: Should I or shouldn’t I? 


Weight control and why it is so important to your happy, healthy life: 

Weight control is an issue of such fundamental importance to your health as to not even be debatable.  The importance of weight control in addition to feeling better, is to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis and gallbladder disease.  These diseases are second only to tobacco-related disorders as a cause of preventable deaths.  Recent studies have concluded that individuals who are significantly overweight can decrease the risk for these medical problems to a significant degree, by losing a modest amount of weight, sometimes estimated to be as little as 5% - 15%.  It has been noted by experts that symptoms of obesity-related disorders can be improved, slowed down or even reversed through proper weight control. 

Interestingly enough, even with all the publicity about the health risks of being overweight, as well as the billions of dollars being spent annually on products and programs to make people thinner, millions of Americans are still chronically overweight. 


Fortunately over the past several decades, many Americans have heeded the health warnings and have significantly cut their intake of dietary fat.  A study published in 1997 concluded that Americans have reduced their average consumption of total fat by 6% between 1987 and 1992, and are now averaging approximately 30% of their total calories.  However, the fat intake currently recommended by most experts is about 30% or less to total calories. 

Although progress has taken place, much improvement still needs to occur in the area of weight control for obese adults in the United States.  The percentage of overweight and obese adults in the United States has risen dramatically since the 1980’s.  A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) referred to as the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES), indicates that an estimated 61% of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more.  Between the years of 1980 to 1999 the percentage of individuals considered to be obese has nearly doubled, from approximately 15% of the population to an estimated 27%. 

Weight control is an issue for all Americans, as obesity appears to be on the rise for all segments of the American population, including children and adolescents, as well as people from all ethnic backgrounds. Weight control is also becoming a global concern.  It has been noted, the obesity epidemic is not limited to Americans but has increased throughout the world due to increased urbanization of the world's population.  Weight control is truly becoming a global concern.

Adapted From The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health After 50

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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