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Does Calling Obesity a Disease Matter?

Does Calling Obesity a Disease Matter?

A couple of years ago picky eaters learned they had a “selective eating disorder” and were relieved of guilt about their limited tolerance for food’s appearance, smell, and texture. They could look at their nutritional challenges realistically and find solutions. That new classification seemed to work. So last year when the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease, public health officials and doctors were hopeful it would provide more than 200 million overweight and obese North Americans with an understanding of the seriousness of their condition and how to address it.

Well, that worked at the Cleveland Clinic, where an innovative program has helped employees lose more than 400,000 pounds! But it’s backfired for other folks; seems “overweight-and-obesity-as-a-disease” flips a “not-my-fault, nothing-I-can-do” switch and makes them feel it’s pointless to watch how much or what they eat.

Being overweight or obese (O or O) is a disease with a set of associated symptoms: elevated LDL cholesterol; depression; digestive woes; body-wide inflammation that increases cancer risk, brain drain, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, and skin issues…all things you can prevent, reverse, or treat with lifestyle changes. So if you’re O or O, don’t wait for a magic pill to cure you.

Here's how to get started:

  • Begin a walking program (use a pedometer please) aiming for 10,000 steps a day.
  • Eat seven to nine servings of veggies and fruits a day.
  • Cut out saturated and trans fats, added sugars and syrups, and any grain that isn’t 100% whole.  

Enjoying healthy choices will give you a younger RealAge and the longer, happy life you deserve.

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