By: Nikki Nies
Often times the words overweight and obese are used interchangeably. Being overweight is being above a weight considered normal or desirable while obesity is considered BMI over 35. Being severely obese is greater than a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more than 100 pounds over ideal body weight.
Severe obesity is associated with additional complications: heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, artherosclerosis, stroke, gallbladder disease, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, sleep apnea and some cancers (i.e. breast or colon).
There’s approximately 9 million Americans categorized as severely obese. About 45,000 12- to 19-year-olds in the U.S. have BMIs of 50 or higher. For example, a 5’4 person who weighs 291 lbs. would have a BMI over 40. A normal weighted person has a BMI of 18.5-24.9.
What gets me is the dominanting age population of those severely obese. A lot of attention and resources have been provided for adults, which I’m not trying to devalue, however, what are we doing wrong as a nation that is encouraging the next generation to have BMI’s of 50+? I thought Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” inititative was being well received, MyPyramid was revamped to modern times and is now MyPlate, soda has been banned in many schools, yet severe obesity is more present than ever.
After a certain weight, diet and exercise can only help so much. So, what can be done? I honestly don’t know because I feel there’s a lot of advocates to help curb childhood obesity. This is not a one solution fits all, but each person’s journey to a healthier life is individual, but there’s a lot of resources available to help anyone on their journey to a healthier individual!