Don?t ask the folks at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They equate "danger" with "death." Due to a statistical error, this week the CDC moved the danger of being overweight from no. 3 to no. 7 in a list of preventable causes for death.
But death isn?t the only risk factor for obesity and being moderately overweight. We?ve known for years that excess weight increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, poor circulation, fatigue, and a host of other health problems.
We should be asking what foods a person has been overeating to gain excess pounds. Snack foods such as cookies and chips that are high in dangerous trans-fatty acids that contribute to heart disease? Sodas packed with calcium-leaching phosphorus that can weaken your bones? Lots of sweets high in diabetes-promoting sugar? All of these give clues to the health risks that are most likely to occur. Few people gain excess weight from eating too much chicken, vegetables, and brown rice.
The recent CDC report should be more disturbing, not less. It says that while being moderately overweight may not lead to an early death, it?s more likely to result in decades of poor quality of life. For many, it means years of pain, fatigue, doctor?s appointments, and medications. The truth is that two out of three adults in this country are either obese or overweight.
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No-one has come up with the ideal weight-loss plan, but a combination of higher protein with lots of vegetables and daily exercise is a good start. Overeating all starches and sugars is a major reason for excess weight gain. But self-control isn?t always possible. If you?re overeating for emotional reasons you may want to read my book, Overcoming the Legacy of Overeating (Third Edition, NTC/Contemporary, 1999) for solutions to emotional eating. Or go to my website, www.womenshealthletter.com and do a search for weight loss tips you may have missed, including many from my book. The user name and password needed to log in are in every issue of my newsletter and available to all subscribers. If you?re not a subscriber, you can subscribe right there on the website.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand