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Understanding Obesity, America's Looming Health Crisis

Dr. Rebecca Lee, Director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Houston, recently addressed attendees at the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare monthly Breakfast Roundtable.

Her presentation about obesity shed light on what is being called an “epidemic” by many scholars and policy makers, and what may indeed be the single biggest public-health challenge facing our nation today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 percent of U.S. adults were defined as obese in 2009.

Dubbed America’s Fattest City in 2003, and ranking in the top 10 as recently as 2010*, Houston could stand to shed quite a few pounds on the road to becoming a more healthy community. Perhaps most disturbing, a 2007 study indicates that 16.7 percent of Houston high school students are considered obese and 83 percent did not get the recommended five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

Some consequences of being overweight include hear disease and stroke, type II diabetes, gallbladder disease and even cancer. But despite these risks and the growing obesity crisis, many private insurance plans do not cover weight management and support services.

While there are studies citing genetically-driven facets of obesity, our environment and the choices we make are chief contributing factors that can be managed. A prudent first step is journaling one’s meals. This promotes better choices and portion control. Wise choices are fiber, fruits and vegetables, as well as salmon, soy, eggs, which contain omega-3 fatty acids. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and excessive salt – and of course, exercise several times a week for 20 to 30 minutes is key.

By making a few simple changes to one’s daily routine, we can all help Houston and our nation on the path to reducing obesity.

* Source: Men's Health Magazine

Learn more about Dr. Rebecca Lee’s research and the Obesity Research Center at the University of Houston.

Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2011 in CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare,

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