The Fallible Man

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A Different Kind of Man a different kind of Lifestyle

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Fighting Childhood Obesity Starts in Your Home


It is incredibly disturbing how life is changing, our nutrition and activity levels keeps getting worse as a species. A trend brought on by our growing technological advancements, in our never ending quest to do everything faster, a price has appeared. The price is our health and that of our children.


It is a fact that people are generally getting fatter in many western societies. This is reflected in the popularity of diet books and fitness equipment. But while most of us realize it would be good to lose a bit of weight, we are only vaguely aware of the staggering levels of “obesity” in our societies. We are even less aware of the impact this is having on our children, and the widespread existence of childhood obesity.


**What is Obesity?**


Generally speaking, a person is considered “obese” when the amount of fat stored in his body endangers his health. Here are some recent OECD statistics that show just how widespread the problem of obesity is:


Percentage of Population (over 15 years of age) who are obese


U.S.A. – 30.6%


Mexico – 24.2%


U.K. – 22.4%


Australia – 21.7%


New Zealand – 17%


Canada – 14.9%


Germany – 12.9%


France – 9.4%


In other words, almost 1 in 3 Americans and roughly 1 in 5 Australians are so grossly overweight as to have health problems because of it.


**Causes of Obesity**


As individuals we have a tendency to rationalise our inclination to be overweight or obese. We often blame such things as heredity, or glandular imbalance, and while these things often do make a difference, the primary cause for most obesity is quite simple. A person gains weight when he or she consumes more calories than they burn.


In other words, there are two important factors involved — diet and activity level. And it seems pretty obvious that in countries with a high obesity level, both things are taking a hit. Western diets are oozing with more fat and sugar than ever before, while people are generally becoming more sedentary and getting less physical exercise — sitting in front of computers all day, and in front of the TV all night.


**Consequences of an Obese Lifestyle**


Obesity has overtaken infectious diseases as the most significant contributor to ill health worldwide.



Illness such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, heart disease, stroke, back and lower extremity weight-bearing degenerative problems, certain types of cancer, and depression, have been attributed to obesity.


In fact, it has been estimated that roughly 500,000 deaths now occur annually due to poor diet and physical inactivity. If this trend towards obesity is not reversed in the next few years, it will likely overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death.


Even more troubling, when adults adopt an obese lifestyle, they are more likely to pass their eating and activity habits along to their children. This has given rise to a dramatic increase in obesity in children.


**Obesity in children**