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Nutrition News: Weight Gain Blues

Charlyn Fargo on

As a nation, we continue to eat too much. That may not be surprising news to some of us. By 2030, just 10 short years away, nearly 1 out of every 2 adults in this country will have obesity, and nearly 1 in 4 adults will have severe obesity, according to a new report.

Over the time period from 1999 to 2018, the obesity prevalence increased about 12%, from 30.5% of Americans to 42.4% of Americans. Severe obesity almost doubled. The study was conducted by Dr. Craig Hales, a medical epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, predicts that 29 states (mostly Southern and Midwestern states), will have obesity rates over 50%, while all 50 states will see rates of at least 35%. Severe obesity (about 100 pounds overweight) is predicted to be higher than 25% in 25 states.

Why the concern? Obesity is associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, fatty liver disease sleep apnea, arthritis, gallbladder disease and more.

But we all know it's hard to lose weight, and there are no simple answers. As a nation, we're blessed to have an abundance of food, including high-calorie, energy-dense foods that are easy to overeat. Add to that sedentary jobs and busy lives. Too often, we are guilty of distracted eating -- eating while we're doing other things -- which results in overeating.

My best advice? Eat according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate rather than a fad diet, which often results in gaining more weight than was lost. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. Make food at home so you can control the calories. Try keeping track of your calories with an app such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It. Studies have shown even the simple act of tracking helps many lose weight.

 

Q and A

Q: Is it true weight loss can lower your breast cancer risk?

A: It is for women over the age of 50 who can keep even small amounts of weight off. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in December 2019 analyzed data from more than 180,000 women ages 50 and over for 10 years, with two five-year follow-ups. Researchers found that if the weight loss was sustained over time, even modest amounts of weight loss decreased breast cancer risk. Women who lost up to 10 pounds had a 13% lower risk, and those who lost over 20 pounds had a 26% reduced risk.

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