The New Year is a time to reflect on the past but more importantly it is a time to look forward to positive changes for the future. Every year, people make resolutions to do things differently. The most popular New Year’s resolution is weight loss and physical fitness. Although many people make this resolution, few actually achieve their goal. In 2012, it is more important than ever to maintain an ideal body weight. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one third of U.S. adults are obese. Moreover, 44% of African Americans are obese or overweight. Not only is maintaining an ideal body weight important for having high self-esteem and a positive body image it is essential for overall health. Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, liver & gallbladder disease, and certain cancers (esophageal, pancreatic, uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney, and thyroid).
African American women are 60% more likely to be obese than Caucasian women. However, many African American women simply do not know they are overweight or obese. For many years, African American women have used terms such as big boned, thick, or voluptuous to describe their figures. Many African-American women identify a curvy figure as being attractive and a sign of good health. In a sense, it has become a cultural norm to be on the “hefty side”. Overall, African Americans have a different perception of what is considered an ideal body weight. When some overweight African American women look in the mirror, they do not see themselves as being overweight and they definitely do not see themselves as being obese. Many people equate obesity with someone who is bedridden or someone who tips the scales at 300 lbs. However, the line between an ideal body weight and being overweight is very thin. Being more than 10-15 pounds greater than your ideal body weight will put you in the overweight or obese category.
The terms overweight and obese are used to identify ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. There is a national formula used to calculate body mass index. The body mass index is a score used to identify weight category based on height and weight. Having a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered a healthy weight. A BMI of 25 – 29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. Find your BMI: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
After calculating your BMI, set a plan into action to achieve your ideal body weight. Small steps go a long way to making positive life long changes. Weight loss is achieved when the amount of calories burned exceeds the amount of calories taken in. Physical activity is very import to your overall health and for maintaining an ideal body weight. Shedding a few extra pounds will decrease your likelihood of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, liver & gallbladder disease and certain cancers.
Find more information at the: US Dept of Health & Human Services www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=6456 . Learn about the link between obesity and cancer: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity
All material in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the con-tents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.