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Are You Overweight? Blame
the Environment!

Are you worried about your weight? If so, you’re not alone — at any one time, an estimated 40 percent of women and 24 percent of men are trying to lose weight.

Being overweight, particularly if you’re unfit as well, is no laughing matter, as it seriously increases your risk of several, serious diseases:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased blood cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers, such as uterus, breast, bowel and kidney cancer
  • Degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s

Being overweight also increases the strain on your joints, so you’re susceptible to aches and pains, and osteoarthritis. Obesity even hampers sperm production in men and makes it harder for women to conceive.

An obese person s on average nine years earlier than somebody of normal weight, while a very obese person's life is cut short by an average of 13 years.

We haven’t suddenly become overweight and obese simply through eating too much — it’s actually down to what the scientists call the “obesogenic environment”. “Obesogenic” is not likely a term that you have heard before, but you may be hearing it more in the future. It comes from obese plus the ending -genic, something tending to generate or create, and refers to an environment that promotes gaining weight and one that is not conducive to losing weight.

There are many factors in our environment that cause us to gain weight and make losing weight a real challenge:

  • There is an over-reliance on fast foods. Fast food is an integral part of our society, from the hot biscuit sandwiches and hash brown patties for breakfast to the burgers, fries and shakes of a quick dinner. Because it is relatively inexpensive, quickly prepared and easy to eat on the go, fast food is the ultimate culinary convenience, but that accessibility can lead to dangers that may impact a person's health.

    Fast food contributes to obesity because it is generally less healthy than other meal options and portions are outrageously oversized. For example, an average adult requires 2,000 calories of nutrition each day for a healthy diet. Yet a relatively small fast food meal may have far more calories than suspected: a regular size hamburger (400 calories), medium order of fries (380 calories) and a medium soda (200 calories) add up to a whopping 980 calories or nearly half the recommended daily intake.

  • The market is flooded with prepackaged fat-laden and energy-dense foods.

  • People get less exercise due to busy lifestyles (and sometimes due to the safety issues of being outdoors.)

  • People are glued to their TV and computer screens far too many hours per day.

If our environment is to blame for our obesity problem, weight loss is possible through environmental changes.

  • Stop buying into the fast food craze.

  • Stop purchasing prepackaged foods at the grocery store.

  • Eat foods in their most natural form.

  • Drink water instead of soda.

  • Make exercise a priority in your daily life.

  • Limit TV and computer time.

Take note of the shortcuts you've grown accustomed to and stop taking the easy way out. Use a push lawnmower and stand up to change the channel on the TV.

The bottom line is that making simple changes within your environment will give you the opportunity to eat smarter and exercise more, which is the magic combination for weight loss. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the only way to lose weight and permanently manage a healthy weight.

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