Obesity And Middle Age: People In Midlife Have Highest Rate of Obesity, Study Shows
The obesity rate in America may have plateaued and may even be declining in some areas, but many in middle age are still carrying around their spare tires, according to the newly released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™ (WBI). While the obesity rate in America fell in 2011 to 26.1 percent, from 26.6 percent in 2010 and 26.5 percent in 2009, those aged 45 to 64 still have the highest obesity rate in the nation -- a whopping 30.8 percent. The study found an even higher rate of obesity among middle-aged African Americans and Hispanics: 41.0 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively.
As you age, a slower metabolism and muscle loss may make burning calories more difficult, so eating like you did in your 20s could result in weight gain. But obesity goes beyond not being able to fit into your daughter's jeans -- an obese person has an excess amount of fat, with a BMI of 30 or greater. Health risks of obesity include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and other serious issues. Obesity can also have a tremendous impact on your wallet.
“The obesity epidemic isn’t just a public health issue; it’s also a financial burden on individuals, companies and governments,” Ben Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and CEO, said in a statement. “According to the National Institutes of Health, the annual incremental cost of healthcare per person due to obesity is $1,429."
What can you do to beat these statistics and shed extra pounds? Check out the slide show below.
Know What You Should Weigh
Sounds obvious, doesn't it? Surprisingly, many people who admit they could "maybe stand to lose a few pounds" actually have more serious weight problems than they are admitting to. Try this <a href="http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/" target="_hplink">body mass index calculator </a>to see where you fall, and check with your doctor about what your ideal weight should be to avoid health problems.
Skip The Fad Diets And Stick To The Basics
It's human nature to want a quick, painless fix to all our problems, which is the appeal of fad diets. These diets take many forms including focusing on one particular food item, such as grapefruit. The problem is that these diets often lack the major nutrients and protective phytochemicals that we need, such as antioxidants, according to <a href="http://women.webmd.com/fad-diets" target="_hplink"> WebMd.com</a>. Sorry, there's no magic pill for being overweight. <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/" target="_hplink">Muffet</a></em>
Rome, And Weight Loss, Weren't Built In A Day
Weight loss needs to be gradual if it's going to stick. You've heard (and probably ignored) the adage that the most successful diet is one that involves a lifestyle change. In plain English, they mean skip the potato chips and convince yourself that carrot sticks are just as satisfying. Check with your doctor for what the best diet is for you. Set realistic goals so that you wean yourself off the bad habits and maintain your weight loss. After all, what good is losing it if you just regain it when you slip into old eating patterns?
Learn Portion Control
Carbs may feel like the enemy, but instead of demonizing them, learn to eat a correct portion size -- which unfortunately is not an entire pizza or a giant bowl of pasta with meat sauce. Many people don't actually know what a correct portion size looks like. Weight Watchers defines a portion of meat -- like grilled chicken -- as the size of a <a href="http://www.weightwatchers.com/about/prs/wwi_template.aspx?GCMSID=1002991" target="_hplink">deck of cards</a>. Uh-huh. Did you just pack double that amount on your salad for lunch and think you were being virtuous?
Measure, Don't Eyeball
Once you know what a portion size is, don't trust your judgment. Measure it. One of the most shocking things to learn is what a half cup of rice actually looks like. <br> <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/b_2/" target="_hplink">B*2</a></em>
Write Down What You Eat
Bites add up -- or "Just let me have one bite," said the dieter to the Devil. While there are some who can stop after one bite, there are many who can't. And if you add up your bites all day long, you just may be surprised how many calories you've added to your diet. <br> <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoarment/" target="_hplink">Marco Arment</a></em>
Get Out There And Move
Can this be said often enough? Walk the dog around the block instead of just opening the back door. Grab a friend and walk in the mall in inclement weather. Nobody is expecting you to hit five pilates classes a week, but try to move for at least <a href="http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/American-Heart-Association-Guidelines_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.T00dlHLOzDU" target="_hplink">30 minutes a day, five days a week</a>. <br> <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/revstan/" target="_hplink">Rev Stan</a></em>
Find A Gym That Works For You Or Get Your Own Equipment
Is there anything more depressing than huffing and puffing on a treadmill while surrounded by hard-bodied 20-somethings running much faster but who have barely broken into a sweat? My answer was just to invest in a used treadmill and put it in the garage. I hop on it at my convenience and in privacy.
Figure Out What Works For You As Incentives
I know a woman who starts out her diet buying a new pair of jeans in the size she aims to wear. I know someone else who tapes a college photo of herself on the refrigerator door. Me? I put my kids' pictures up there to remind me why I don't really want to eat the ice cream.
Dieting Isn't A Competition
Some like the support that attending diet program meetings provides. Others say it turns into a competition. When it comes to dieting, you fool no one but yourself and that's the only person you answer to. The brass ring here doesn't go to who drops 30 pounds soonest. You are doing this for yourself, your health and your well-being. Don't put yourself in a situation where you feel so bad that others seem to be having an easier time of things that you get discouraged and quit.
Dieting Plateaus Are Tough But Can't Be The End Of The Road
Many people hit <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/10-ways-to-move-beyond-a-weight-loss-plateau" target="_hplink">diet plateaus</a>. Things start to slow and level off, and once in a while, your scale gets stuck at a point. Nothing you do seems to help, and frustration sets in. Relax and know that just staying the course will eventually rev up your metabolic engine again. It's the hardest part of dieting. One suggestion: Try <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/23/drink.water.lose.weight/index.html" target="_hplink">drinking more water</a> -- it may help you lose the pounds. <br> <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/22280677@N07/" target="_hplink">Svadilfari</a></em>