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Weighting The Options For Unwanted Pounds

With obesity ballooning, local weight-loss organizations are struggling
to help us control our lethal lifestyles.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day if weight loss is the goal.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day if weight loss is the goal.

Weighty matters have been on my mind since my recent chat with Dianna DiCosimo, clinical nutrition coordinator at Indian River Medical Center. It’s disturbing enough to learn our collective waistbands continue to enlarge. What’s worse is that a shocking proportion of us have swollen from the ranks of “pleasantly plump” to “morbidly obese,” tipping the scales at double or triple our ideal weight and creating a virtual blockade of blubber when walking two astride down a supermarket  aisle.

The problem is measurably worsening. The obesity rate in Indian River County has always been a bit lower than national averages, due primarily to our relatively elevated socioeconomic status, but that’s hardly cause to cheer. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that slightly more than 21 percent of us have a body mass index (BMI) over 30, the qualifier for obesity.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that, as Floridians, a majority of us (70 percent of men and 49.7 percent of women) would at minimum make the cut for being overweight with a BMI over 25. The figures have been steadily rising since the CDC started tracking portliness trends in 1986, when obesity was declared a disease, says DiCosimo.

Our lifestyle and insatiable appetite for quick results conspire against our best weight-loss intentions. Most of us lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle and frequent fast food joints continue serving up generously sized but nutritionally puny meals. We’re peddled “miracle cure” powders and pills, spot-reducing fitness contraptions and portion-measuring tools, potentially bowel-damaging colon cleanses and an endless parade of diet books with all manner of deception and misinformation. “There are a million get-rich-quick schemes out there for weight-loss,” says DiCosimo. Even legitimate medications, such as the over-the-counter weight loss aid Alli, are no substitute for healthy eating. As a culture, we’re so bombarded with food that no more than 10 percent of people who lose weight manage to keep it off.

Read the entire article in the Summer 2011 issue