What is causing the Obesity Epidemic?
Body weight is the result of metabolic, genetic, behavioral, environmental, cultural, sleep, medications, stress and socioeconomic factors.
Community, home, child care, school, health care, and workplace settings can all influence people’s health decisions. Therefore, it is important to create environments in these locations that make it easier to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet.
Genetic Factors For Obesity
Although blaming the genes won’t explain the sudden surge in Obesity in the last 50 years as genes can take a long time to change, there are a few genetic factors that do contribute to obesity in some individuals.
Genes can directly cause obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.
Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight. In some cases multiple genes may increase one’s susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors; such as abundant food supply or little physical activity.
Diseases and Drugs
Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain.
An Obesity Medicine Physician or W8MD (pronounced weightMD) will be able to tell you whether illnesses, medications, or psychological factors are contributing to weight gain or making weight loss hard.
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
Medical costs associated with overweight and obesity may involve direct and indirect costs.
Direct medical costs may include preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to obesity.
Indirect costs relate to morbidity and mortality costs. Morbidity costs are defined as the value of income lost from decreased productivity, restricted activity, absenteeism, and bed days. Mortality costs are the value of future income lost by premature death.
National Estimated Cost of Obesity
The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion
A study by George Washington University estimates the overall cost of obesity, including the value of years lost to premature death, at $8,365 a year for obese women and $6,518 a year for obese men.
The report, by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, takes into account costs related to medical care, absenteeism from work, short-term disability, insurance and other factors. Among other issues, it discusses the negative relationship, particularly for women, between body weight and wages as obese women tend to get lower paying jobs compared to normal weight women with similar qualifications.
The authors concluded that the individual cost of being obese is $4,879 and $2,646 for women and men respectively, and adding the value of lost life to these annual costs produces even more dramatic results: $8,365 and $6,518 annually for women and men, respectively.
The analysis demonstrates costs are nine times higher for women and six times higher for men who are obese, which is defined as an individual with a Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 30, than for an overweight person, which is defined as someone with a BMI between 25-29. The findings also reveal a significant difference between the impact of obesity on men and women when it comes to job-related costs, including lost wages, absenteeism and disability.
The report suggests that these estimates may understate total costs. Dr. Dor noted that, “existing literature provides information on health- and work-related costs, but with the exception of fuel costs, no published academic research offers insight into consumer-related costs, such as clothing, air travel, automobile size or furniture. Anecdotal evidence suggests these costs could be significant.
A copy of the full report titled, “A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States” is available at: http://www.gwumc.edu/sphhs/departments/healthpolicy/pdf/HeavyBurdenReport.pdf
Did you know that 1 in 3 people have insulin resistance or are considered “pre” diabetic which could be the main reason that people are overweight? Losing just 5-10% of your weight will help you reduce risks of heart attacks, diabetes and even some cancers.
The doctor’s of W8MD partner with each patient to develop a custom weight management program to best meet their individual needs taking into account their medical history, lifestyle and goals.
Since weight and sleep go together, most of the W8MD centers are able to address sleep issues such as snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia and restless leg syndrome to name a few.
And the best part of the program is that most insurance’s cover the doctor visits.
Check out our website at www.w8md.com to learn more about us. If you have a little or a lot of weight to lose and want to do it without surgery, set up fees and mandatory meal replacements or appetite suppressants, think W8MD for weight loss.
And, if you are a physician, with an interest in helping your obese or overweight patients, and would like to add a W8MD program at your office, please feel free to contact us. Call 1(800)W8MD-007 for more information. W8MD has offices in several states and is expanding. Franchise Opportunities Available For Medical Providers.
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