April 24, 2013
Being Healthy is not a Size
Obesity has become an epidemic as severe as the plague in America. Obesity now affects more than 37.5 % American adults (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2012 para. 2). Many fad diets have taken over the nation. Since its appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show the Acai Berry Diet has become popular. Drinking "miracle juice" is part of the Hollywood Diet. The Atkins Diet is very popular and has the dieter completely eliminate carbs from their diet. Walk into any bookstore in American and a consumer is bombarded with books guaranteeing fast weight loss results. Society is overwhelmed with all these choices on how to lose weight with ease, but as anyone that has struggled with their weight would report deprivation or sticking to the latest fad diet is just a recipe for failure. America's super size me society wants food that is easily accessible that can be eaten on the run. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet and a regular exercise are essential to being healthy. Maybe it is not what is being eaten, but the rate and amount of what is being consumed that is making Americans fat compounded with the deskaholic by day, couch potatoes by night that do not make exercising on a regular basis a priority.
The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is the current standard to measure obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], state "For most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness. It is calculated based on your height and weight" (CDC 2011 para. 1). The BMI calculator has been around for over a hundred years and is still used today as the standard to measure obesity. According to Flegal & Kuczmarski 2013 The1985 NIH Consensus Development Conference on the Health Implications of Obesity, the Consensus Development Panel worked to develop a new definition of overweight. The Panel defined obesity as a BMI ≥ 27.8 for men and a BMI ≥ 27.3 for women in the United States ( Flegal & Kuczmarski 2013). In 2010 the dietary guidelines in the United States reflected international recommendations for BMI cutoffs. Today obesity is defined as a BMI of greater than or equal to 30.0 (Flegal & Kuczmarski 2013).
Being thin does not necessarily make you healthy. As a society we turn to the pages of Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition and Victoria's Secret models as an example of what beautiful and healthy looks like. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) utilizes the Body Mass Index (BMI) as an indicator of the amount of fat for most people. A five foot five inch individual should weigh between 110-150 pounds utilizing the BMI calculator (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2011). To the five foot five woman who weighs over 150 pound this can be very discouraging, but your weight is just a number. Many factors go into being "healthy." There are many things that can be chosen to become or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Choosing foods that are a part of a well rounded diet and regular exercise along with managing stress all contribute to a healthy diet. Take two women both five feet five inches tall. One weighs 125 pound, but she forgoes breakfast daily, eats a candy bar for lunch, grabs dinner from a local fast food chain on her way home from work daily and does not exercise. The other weighs 175 pounds makes healthier food choices, exercises faithfully four times a week for at least 45 minutes and has completed a half marathon. Going by the BMI the 175 pound woman is overweight. Society would view this woman as unhealthy, but a simple height to weight ratio is not an accurate measurement of health. Eating a well balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercise, drinking water, minimizing stress all are ways to be healthy no matter what size you are.
Obesity has become an epidemic in this nation. Americans live in a fast food...