Statistics on Obesity in the United States
The news is filled with stories about obesity in America. We share this concern with those who are obese, as well as with all Americans who bear the cost of public health care. Obesity is a detrimental factor in cancer, heart problems and type II diabetes related medical issues. There are many reasons for obesity but it can usually be controlled through diet and exercise. Alternative measures are available for the chronically obese ranging from extreme diet plans under a doctor’s supervision to gastric bypass surgeries of various kinds.
The following statistics showing obesity trends are from the Center for Disease Control of the United States Government. The body mass index or BMI is calculated by the height of the person compared to their weight and a body mass index of 30 or higher is considered obese. The CDC has put statistics together on a state-by-state basis and, looking over the map of statistics of the United States in 2009, we see that the South/Central area is hardest hit by obesity. States such as Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Mississippi show that between 30% to 35% of the population is considered obese according to the body mass index rating. Other bordering states such as Texas, Kansas, Florida and Georgia show 25 to 29% of the population being obese. Colorado is shown to have the lowest number of obese people at 15% to 19% of the population. Other northwestern states show levels of 20 to 24%. This information was gathered by the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). State health care facilities gather information by standardized procedures from adults through phone interviews. They are put together nationally by the CDC to monitor the levels of obesity across the nation.
According to race, blacks have 51% higher rates and Hispanics have 21% higher rates of obesity than the neighboring white population. Blacks and whites in the South were more likely to be overweight than those in the west and northeast. Hispanics in the northeast were less likely to be overweight than those in the south and southwest. These rates are shown state by state but when the statistics are broken down by counties some areas may have rates that are above their state average. Diabetes statistics are also provided by the CDC since obesity is usually a contributory factor in this other far too common condition.
Levels of childhood obesity in America are rising, which causes concern for the future burden on the public health care system. It is shown that low-income children have higher rates of diabetes and obesity. Contributing factors are inexpensive fast foods with higher sugar and fat content. Lower cost food can have higher levels of both fat and sugar, which tend to complicate the problem of obesity and diabetes.
In as much as food consumption can be regulated by the government, steps are being considered with regards to public school food menus. It would be difficult if not impossible for the government to regulate what people eat in the privacy of their own homes. Constitutional issues would arise if there were laws passed to micro-manage the intake of food inside the home. We have seen success in individuals to take control of their lives and eat smarter. Controlling the obesity problem has a positive effect in the fight against diabetes, cancer and heart related problems. We are here to help those with weight problems to find the solution that fits their personal needs.
A Surgical Alternative to Reduce Obesity in America
We know that gastric bypass surgeries alter the digestive system by reducing the amount of food intake. According to the Mayo Clinic gastric bypass is the most frequently performed bariatric surgery in the United States. This surgery consistently provides successful results when combined with proper diet and exercise. Bypass surgery is one of the most popular ways to lose weight according to many surgeons, because it has fewer complications than other weight loss surgeries. We feel that this offers a good chance of success with few side effects. A healthy food menu with regular exercise works with the surgery to produce the desired result. We encourage a life-style change along with any surgery to maximize success and are ready to work with you to achieve the goal.
We have observed that obese patients who find no success through diet and exercise alone should consider gastric bypass surgery. It is a reasonable alternative with relatively few side effects. The goal is to lose the weight one way or another, so that complications of obesity such as diabetes, heart problems or cancer do not reach an unmanageable condition. Anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher is a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. The surgery is even more justified if there are complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes. We encourage a life style change, including proper diet and exercise, to achieve and maintain goals. Keeping the weight off is a battle in the mind. Working with others who share the experience helps to strengthen bonds in success.
There are multiple forms of gastric bypass surgery such as Roux-en-Y, which staples the stomach and allows food to move on into the small intestine. Another form of surgery is to remove about 80% of the stomach, which would reduce the area needed for food intake. This requires more monitoring and may reduce the amount of vitamin intake as well as increase the risk of malnutrition. Another form of bypass surgery is the Lap-Band adjustable gastric banding. The band is designed to constrict the flow of food, more or less, as needed. It can be removed at a later date. In extreme cases, BMI of 50 or higher, sleeve gastrectomy surgery is used to lower the amount of calories the body is able to absorb.