Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
U.S. Public Health Service
Acting Assistant Secretary for Health
Department of Health and Human Services
“Looking back 40 years to the 1960s, when many of us in this room were children, just over four percent of 6- to 17-year-olds were overweight. Since then, that rate has more than tripled, to over 15 percent. And the problem doesn’t go away when children grow up. Nearly three out of every four overweight teenagers may become overweight adults.
I’m not willing to stand by and let that happen. American children deserve much better than being condemned to a lifetime of serious, costly, and potentially fatal medical complications associated with excess weight. The facts are staggering:”
In the year 2000, the total annual cost of obesity in the United States was $117 billion. While extra value meals may save us some change at the counter, they’re costing us billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity. Physical inactivity and super-sized meals are leading to a nation of oversized people.
This year, more than 300,000 Americans will die from illnesses related to overweight and obesity.
Obesity contributes to the number-one cause of death in our nation: heart disease.
Excess weight has also led to an increase in the number of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. There are at least 17 million Americans with diabetes, and another 16 million have pre-diabetes. Each year, diabetes costs America $132 billion. It can lead to eye diseases, cardiovascular problems, kidney failure, and early death.
Despite seeing the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan on television nearly everyday, America has become an obese nation. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34% of adults in America are obese, while the number of obese children in America is at 17%. Clearly, America has become an unhealthy nation, too busy with video games and cell phones to be concerned with nutrition and health.
How a Person is Determined to be Obese
Not everyone understands how doctors determine a person to be obese. Certainly, weight is a factor, but what other aspects are involved? Obesity is determined based upon a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio based on one’s height and weight. A person is considered obese if their BMI is over 30%. Therefore, a person that is five-foot-six and weighs 180 pounds would be considered obese (nytimes.com).
Obesity, cancer clearly linked, experts say
News Date: 04/08/2010
Outlet: Dallas Morning News
There is a clear correlation between obesity and cancer, according to a November report by the American Institute for Cancer Research. It went so far as to link excess body weight to more than 100,000 cancers in the U.S. annually.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society cited this connection as far back as 2003.
In fact, the only issue in doubt among most experts is why.
Some say increased weight causes an increase in the amount of hormones, such as estrogen, or an increase in low-grade inflammation in the body, both of which are theorized to increase cancer risk.
Dr. David Euhus, professor of surgical oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment Program at the Simmons Cancer Center, believes the true culprit is insulin resistance, which increases with weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.
“Breast cancer risk increases in the years prior to a diagnosis of diabetes,” says Euhus, who is working with researchers at UT Southwestern to explore his ideas. “Women with higher levels of circulating insulin have higher breast cancer rates.”
Euhus is examining medicines such as Metformin, which heightens insulin sensitivity, as possible cancer preventives.