Perhaps never before has the mission of organizations addressing unhealthy weight gain and obesity been timelier.

Consider the latest data collected by the Weight Control Information Network (WIN), a news service created by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and posted on the Web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Two in three Americans older than 20 are overweight, while one in three adults in this age group are obese. The problem is particularly acute among minority populations, many of who live in poor communities. Nearly two in five African and Hispanic Americans are obese.

This has not been a sudden phenomenon but long-term shift. According to WIN, since the early 1960s, the obesity rate has approximately tripled. It has also started early in people’s lives, when they develop exercise and dietary habits. About one in five American children between the ages of six and 19 are overweight.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, fatty liver and gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis – the degeneration of cartilage and joints – sleep apnea, reproductive and hormonal irregularities and some forms of cancer. It is also linked to earlier mortality. Obesity is connected to 112,000 deaths due to cardiovascular disease. The cost: Obese people pay almost $1,500 more annually than those who maintain an appropriate weight for their age and build.

Reducing obesity is one of the LAFC Foundation’s primary goals. Consider recent headlines at four of the country‚Äôs leading news organizations, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and CNN – both online and in print. The Times offered extensive coverage of the launching of Let’s Move, an initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama to change exercise and eating habits in children and their families. Let’s Move is engaging an unusually large alliance of governmental, academic, health, sports and business organizations.

The Journal and Los Angeles Times included several articles on studies connecting physical activity to weight control. The most interesting story highlighted a study showing that women who engaged in 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily – 420 minutes per week – maintained their weight.

30 / March / 2010  Latest News 


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