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The Obesity Epidemic

A terrifying statistic was released yesterday: by 2030 42% of all Americans will be obese, up from 36% as of 2010, according to researchers at Duke University.

We know that heredity can play a huge role in obesity, but what about refined sugars and grains that drive up insulin levels and can actually increase our appetite? Or too large portions in toxic environments such as fast food joints (“supersize me”) or national chain restaurants.

I’m not saying that indulging in your cravings every once in awhile isn’t okay. Hell, I went to culinary school and lived on bacon and butter and an unlimited lunch buffet for a year. But I paid the price – 10 pounds or 10% of my body weight, in less than a year. I have since lost that excess weight by going back to my healthy eating habits: lean proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, lots of fruits and veggies and smaller, more frequent meals.

I still indulge on weekends and when I go out for a special meal. I still have have a glass of wine every night with dinner.  For me, life is just not worth living without delicious food and cocktails.  But the phrase “everything in moderation” really rings true.  Portion control plays a huge role in weight, something the Europeans understand and America has not caught up with yet.

If being really fat is not enough to deter you from that second doughnut, what about all of the health issues that are associated with obesity? Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, joint and skeletal issues, etc. The financial implications of these medical conditions  is staggering… $550 billion over the next two decades, according to the study.

A documentary, Weight of the Nation, will be airing on HBO next week and may prove to be a huge shock to Americans who regularly indulge in processed foods, large portions and a nightly snack.

The beautiful thing about this health crisis – it can be averted. If the issue of obesity is to be resolved in America, it will take a tremendous amount of financial, economic and social support. We have to start where the problem lies…educating our children at a very young age and helping them develop healthy eating habits early on.

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