Being overweight or obese almost ensures that you are going to suffer some type of health problem in your life. Many people in the United States are suffering from the effects of not eating right and lack of exercise. In Wisconsin a report released this year by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says the obesity rate for African-Americans is 45.8 percent, up from 44 percent a year ago.
Obesity is associated with increased health-care costs, reduced quality of life, and increased risk for premature death. The prevalence of obesity is high among African-Americans, particularly African-American women, where about 4 in 5 are overweight or obese.
The risk of diabetes is significantly related to obesity. Obesity and diabetes are major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States and pose a serious problem for the African-American community. It is estimated that 300,000 adults die from causes related to obesity each year. When you are or overweight or obese, you are more likely to develop health problems such as the following:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol levels
• Type 2 diabetes
• Coronary heart disease
• Gallbladder disease
• Pain in your joints
• Sleep apnea and breathing problems
• Some cancers (breast, colon and endometrial)
Among people who are overweight and obese, weight loss can help reduce the chances of getting these health problems. Studies show that if a person is overweight or obese, losing 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight can improve one’s health.
• Aim for a healthy weight. People who need to lose weight should do so at a slow pace.
• Be active. The best way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake and increase physical activity.
• Eat well. Select sensible portion sizes and eat a balanced diet.
If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor to discuss a weight loss program and ask for a referral to a dietitian. The dietitian will work with you to create a weight loss plan that suits your needs.
Derrick C. Lewis
Public Relations/Communications Manager
Independent Care Health Plan