More people are obese now than ever before.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 39.6 percent of adults and 18.5 percent of children were considered obese in 2015-16, which is the most recent year that figures are available. It’s the highest percentage ever documented by the survey.
Figures for Stark County—compiled in the annual Stark County Indicators Report—show that nearly a third of adults have a body mass index of 30 or greater. The body mass index is based on a person’s weight and height.
People who carry an excessive amount of weight are at an increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, breathing problems, some cancers and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s not a secret that something has to change,” said Kate Anderson, outpatient dietitian for Mercy Medical Center.
But as someone who has been helping people find healthier versions of themselves for the past 15 years, Anderson knows that weight gain often is the result of a complex combination of factors, including genetics, low activity, poor diet and a constant state of stress.
“We’re all so different that we have to stop thinking that there’s this one-size-fits-all solution, when there are so many factors that play into weight gain,” Anderson said. “The path to health is not the simple and easy way.”
Anderson said she tends to focus on a person’s daily decisions and their environment when she meets with clients.
She’ll ask questions such as: What kind of friends do you hang out with? What do you like to do for socializing?
“A lot of things that make up our environment make up our weight,” she said.
The next step is determining which daily decisions a person is willing to change.
“That is where it is very powerful to see what needs to change, but, more importantly, what they are willing to change,” she said.
TIPS FOR WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT
Anderson provided three tips to help find a healthier you:
• Give your body time to digest and use the food you have consumed. That means no snacking throughout the day and give your gut a 12-to-14-hour window of rest overnight. “You have to give your body time to use the energy that you take in,” Anderson said. “It’s just the mindfulness of when you are eating.”
• Read food labels and take note of the “added sugar” line, which appears on newer food labels. “Added sugars aren’t just in desserts,” Anderson said. “They’re in your yogurt, in your peanut butter.” The maximum amount of added sugar that should be eaten in a day is 12 grams for children, 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. A can of soda typically contains more than 40 grams of sugar.
• Realize that no amount of calories will make you feel full. “What gives us that full belly feeling is combination of fiber and water,” Anderson said. She said good sources of fiber include the skins of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains. A good ratio is 1 gram of fiber per 10 grams of total carbs.