Saturday, May 23, 2009

Childhood Obesity - 3 Steps To A Real Solution (I)

by Phillip Collinsworth

An epidemic of obesity and its health related complications are sweeping America. And sadly, many of the current statistics suggest the problem will only get worse a glut of children diagnosed with childhood obesity reach adulthood.

Unfortunately, one out of three of us are part of this plague, and the number appears to grow daily. Despite an abundance of diet books, diet plans, home exercise equipment, and dire warnings from the medical community, less than one percent of dieters achieve sustained weight loss and many fail to produce measurable results in health improvements. In fact, research suggests dieting may be part of the obesity problem, rather than the solution.

The root of the obesity problem lies in our eating habits. Simply put, we eat too much saturated fat and refined sugar, and too little fiber-most of this brought on by spending over half of our food budget on fast food in the form of greasy burgers and fries, gulped down with syrup-laden sodas. Let me give you two weight loss tips right here: (1) Stop using the drive-thru. (2) Stop eating refined and sweetened foods.

On a personal level, has your diet succeeded in changing your eating habits? Chances are it has not. A diet plan may tell you what and how much to eat, but it cannot settle your body's craving for food, nor can it change your eating habits.

According to the Surgeon General, obesity causes over 300,000 deaths per year and doubles your chances of becoming diabetic. Obesity also increases the probability of acquiring other health related issues, such as:

· Heart disease

· Breast cancer

· Asthma

· Sleep apnea

· Arthritis

· Pregnancy complications

· Depression

The statistics are frightening. The problem is real. But, there is hope. While the national statistics of obesity and diabetes skyrocket, you can defy the numbers. As you journey with me, it is my hope you will find the inspiration to achieve success with your diet.

Diets are personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. Amidst the din of conflicting and often confusing information about dieting, you must choose the path that is right for you. Your diet should not be drudgery, but should be a joyful process of self-discovery and mastery over food addiction. Each successful day represents a triumph, and each triumph gives you more strength and resolve to persevere. As Thoreau once stated "We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones."

Now is the time for new beginnings. Become a successful dieter, today. . The clock is ticking.

I would like to speak to you metaphorically for a moment by comparing my body and eating habits to a steamroller.

When it comes to eating I'm just like one of those steamrollers you see flattening the pavement at a construction site. Once that thing gets rolling, it takes a lot of energy to stop it. Likewise, once I start eating, I tend to binge. Everything in my path gets flattened-that is, eaten. Steamrolling my way though the refrigerator seemed fun at the time, but looking back, I realize it was a recipe for disaster.

For ten years I ignored the growing bulge around my waistline and laughed as my pants sizes, and clothing purchases escalated with a regularity that kept my local Wal-Mart clothing department gainfully employed. But like a balloon, you can only fill it up so far before she blows. I had to find a way to shut the steamroller down before it ran me over.

Carrying the steamroller analogy a bit further, I knew if I could steal the battery, or somehow disable the starting mechanism, I could make it through the day without bingeing or grossly violating the rules of my diet. What I learned was that the best way to disable the bingeing steamroller machine was to not allow it to get started. That is, I recognized I was unable to stop eating after I started, therefore, I resolved to not get started to begin with. Dieting for me required cold turkey cessation of the snacking routine. I now limit my eating to scheduled meal times. I now eat three meals and two snacks per day. It's not easy, and it takes desire, dedication, and determination to succeed.

You know that.

But what you may not realize is that the benefits of being physically fit make the pain, discomfort, and hassle of dieting worthwhile.
(to be continued)

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Childhood obesity linked to allergy risk

A new study has shown that obese kids and adolescents are at increased risk of having some kind of allergy, especially to a food.

"We found a positive association between obesity and allergies," said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., acting clinical director at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and senior author on the paper.

"While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove that obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link," Zeldin said.

In this study, researchers analysed data from 4,111 children and young adults aged 2-19 years of age.

They looked at total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels to a large panel of indoor, outdoor and food allergens, body weight, and responses to a questionnaire about diagnoses of hay fever, eczema, and allergies. Obesity was defined as being in the 95th percentile of the body mass index for the child's age.

The researchers found the IgE levels were higher among children who were obese or overweight. Obese children were about 26 percent more likely to have allergies than children of normal weight.

NIEHS researcher Stephanie London, M.D., a co-author on the study, said: "The signal for allergies seemed to be coming mostly from food allergies. The rate of having a food allergy was 59 percent higher for obese children,"

The study has been published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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