Health Risks Skyrocket Among the Overweight
It is no
secret obesity can lead to serious health problems at home, as well as
at work. With this increasing problem in mind, California-based
organizations have taken a step toward educating the public about
obesity and the serious diseases to which it has been linked.
defined as an individual being significantly overweight with a body
mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, is a condition linked to higher
incidence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoarthritis of the
knee and hip.
One of the
most disturbing findings of a recent survey of Californians,
commissioned by the American Heart Association's Western States
Affiliate, the American Diabetes Association's Western Region and the
Northeast California Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, indicate 73
percent of adult Californians would not change their diet, or would
change only some of the foods they ate, even if they learned a diet
high in fat could lead to heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
resistance to changes in dietary habits is very dangerous, because
obesity is not only costly in terms of the toll it takes on Californian
lives, it is costing the state millions," said Assemblywoman Susan
Davis (D-Calif.). "In 1998, Medi-Cal paid more than $322 million for
medications to treat Californians with heart disease, diabetes, high
blood pressure and arthritis. By treating obesity, which is a leading
contributor to all of these diseases, we would potentially save
findings also indicated 45 percent of respondents considered themselves
overweight or obese. Further, 57 percent of respondents who exercise
less than three times a week say it's because they can't find the time
or they are too busy with work, the survey found.
fact sheet is issued by the American Heart Association, the American
Diabetes Association, the Arthritis Foundation and the California
half of all breast cancer cases are diagnosed among obese women, and an
estimated 42 percent of colon cancer cases are diagnosed among obese
- Annually, 300,000 deaths are attributable to poor diet and inactivity.
- Obesity more than doubles one's chances of developing high blood pressure.
- An individual who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely than an average-weight person.
- A modest weight loss of 10 pounds to 20 pounds
can bring significant health improvements, such as lowering one's blood
pressure and cholesterol levels.
- An estimated 45 million Americans diet every year, paying an estimated $33 billion on weight-reduction products and services.