The percentage of Americans who are overweight and obese is increasing very rapidly. "Overweight" is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) from 25.0 to 29.9 whereas a BMI of 30 or above is defined as "obese." According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 56% of the population was overweight during the reporting period from 1988 through 1994, and 23% was obese. During the period from 1999 through 2002, these percentages had increased to 65% and 30%, respectively.
So obesity has clearly reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., and the healthcare costs associated with it now rival those attributable to smoking. These costs were estimated to be $92.6 billion in 2002--9.1% of all health care costs--and they continue to escalate rapidly. Comparable costs associated with smoking were estimated to be between 6.5% and 14.4% in 2002. The Centers for Disease Control have announced that obesity could become the nation's leading cause of preventable deaths by 2005. According to a recent estimate, obesity accounts for approximately 280,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
This epidemic is not confined to adults but tragically is afflicting children as well. Childhood obesity increased from 5 percent in 1964 to 13 percent in 1994. Today, it is estimated to be about 20 percent--and rising.
Diseases for which obesity is a significant risk factor include: Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cancer, gallstones, gout, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, pulmonary problems, reproductive problems in women, and depression.
In this era of skyrocketing healthcare costs, it's urgently clear, then, that more effective methods are needed for preventing and reversing this very major contributor to our escalating healthcare crisis.
The above data are especially astounding in the face of the fact that Americans are spending in excess of $50 billion annually on diet products. In view of the ongoing epidemic summarized above, this investment has obviously been highly unsuccessful. As has been pointed out in one study, for example, the price per pound lost in one well-known weight loss program amounts to $180!
Not only is there overwhelming evidence that diets don't work in the long run, but of even more concern is the strong evidence that they can actually contribute to further weight gain and decline in health. There is recent evidence, for example, that yo-yo dieting weakens the immune system by as much as 30%.
A search of the research literature on weight loss strongly supports the general conclusion that key lifestyle and dietary changes are absolutely necessary to long-term success. Here is a fairly comprehensive listing of these essential changes:
1. Eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits.
2. Boost protein intake to build and preserve lean muscle tissue.
3. Use fiber-rich foods, which are more filling and promote health.
4. Boost calcium and other minerals to help shed unwanted fat.
5. Increase intake of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids by eating fish, flax, and nuts.
6. Eat only minimal amounts of "junk" carbs, containing sugar and white flour.
7. Greatly reduce--or eliminate--saturated and trans fats that are loaded with harmful fatty acids.
8. Reduce or eliminate alcohol.
9. Reduce the amount of food eaten gradually to avoid the adverse effects of sudden dieting.
10. Eat frequent, small snacks, instead of large meals, to maximize calories burned for energy.
11. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast to avoid difficulty in controlling appetite later in the day.
12. Be sure to exercise for a half-hour, at least 3 times a week.
13. Gradually boost exercise frequency and intensity for even greater effects.
14. Practice stress reduction to reduce the over-production of cortisol, which promotes weight gain.
15. Expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes each day and get adequate sleep.
16. Incorporate all of these changes into your lifestyle and maintain them persistently.
Some people, however, in spite of making these changes and maintaining them rigorously still experience limited success in losing excess weight and keeping it off.
Lucy Beale, a nationally-known author and weight loss consultant for nearly twenty years, addressed this issue in her recent newsletter:
"For years, I've watched some of my clients do seemingly everything 'right' to lose weight--eating 0-5, eating low-glycemic foods, exercise--and yet they don't lose pounds or inches. This situation is frustrating for me and certainly for them. I've been 'wishing and hoping' to find a fat-loss product that I could whole-heartedly recommend.
"When I couldn't find any viable products to recommend, I spoke with several alternative health practitioners about developing a natural weight-loss product that was: A) safe; B) effective; C) non-addictive; D) worked for most people; and E) provided long-term health benefits. But nothing ever came of our efforts. . .
"Then, in September 2004, a friend told me about the Nexagen Fat-Loss Patch. I've done my homework on the patch and my research indicates the patch is safe, effective, and health promoting. I was so excited that I asked some of my clients to try it out. They loved it. They were eating less, found it easier to eat 0-5, had fewer cravings, felt better emotionally, and even wanted to exercise. They lost inches and weight. Many were able to reduce the dosage of medications they were taking for such health conditions as asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid disorders. People who wear the patch for at least 3-6 months are experiencing satisfying results. . ."
The Fat Loss Patch that Lucy is referring to here is a unique new approach to assisting weight loss and maintenance. Unlike the vast majority of previous diet products containing ephedra, synephrine, or other harmful stimulants, this patent-pending transdermal patch employs Forslean, a patented derivative from an Asian herb, Coleus forskohlii, which has been used for centuries to treat cardiovascular disorders and other health problems. Recent research has now shown that it is also effective in burning fat, while preserving lean muscle, and in curbing food cravings. It also has the added health benefits of supporting thyroid functioning and and helping to reduce blood pressure.
Its mechanism of action in promoting fat burning in the body is also unlike that of all previous thermogenic, or fat-burning, products. The main active ingredient in Forslean activates a very important enzyme, Adenylate cyclase which is involved in the production of Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP). This "second messenger," as it is called in the research literature, is indispensable to many important body functions. One of these is to help maintain a healthy body composition by burning fat while preserving lean body mass.
Combined with the dietary and lifestyle changes summarized above, the Fat Loss Patch is finally making it possible for nearly anyone to attain--and maintain--a healthy body weight.
You can learn more about this revolutionary new product by going to the URL below.
(NOTE TO EDITORS: This article may be edited for publication in your newsletter or on your website but must include the title of the guide and a live link.)
George Shears is a retired psychologist and Wellness Consultant with a long-standing personal and professional interest in health and wellness. He lives with his wife, Mildred, in northern Minnesota.