While on vacation this week, I happened to read a staggering article about a topic I have written and spoken about countless times: Obesity.
Before I start talking about the article, let’s talk about what obesity is.
A person’s Body Mass Index, which is calculated based on their weight and height, is an index which does not carry much weight in the fitness industry (no pun intended). Fitness professionals use a person’s body fat percentage (usually taken with skin fold calipers or a digital device) as a guideline. Typically when a person has body fat over 25%, they're classified as overweight. Body fat levels over 30% are obese and over 35% morbidly obese.
With that in mind let's talk numbers about the current situation of Obesity in the United States. As of 2010 36% of our country is obese. Even scarier is the anticipated obesity levels in 2030, which is estimated at 50%! Another even more interesting number to me is the fact that over 70% of Americans are overweight.
In the sixties and through the seventies the obesity level was roughly 15%. Those levels rapidly rose through the eighties and nineties to hit 32% by the year 2000. After another decade of this epidemic, the total number hit 36% by the year 2010.
Below are the top five states of expected percentage increase of obesity by the year 2030:
% Increase State Now to 2030
54% Increase Tennessee 29.2% to 63.4%
53% Increase Oklahoma 31.1% to 66.7%
51% Increase South Carolina 30.8% to 62.9%
48% Increase Mississippi 34.9% to 66.7%
40% Increase Alaska 27.4% to 45.6%
The estimated cost of obesity related illnesses is roughly $147-$210 billion a year. It boggles me that health insurance carriers do not carry some form of coverage for obesity prevention, i.e a free gym membership, personal training, a dietician, etc.
I personally have trained people ranging from 4% to 65%, with the average new client starting at roughly 29%. The first meeting with all new clients truly is an eye opener. I unfortunately have told hundreds of people that they are either obese or morbidly obese. Whether the reaction is anger, sadness, being dismissive, or plain old shock, the truth is that most of these people need a plan to get back to a healthy well being.
My hope is that there is an increased awareness on obesity and that we as a country can turn these statistics around, as half of our country in eighteen years is expected to be obese.
Nanci Hellmich. “State obesity rates could skyrocket by 2030“ USATODAY.com. September 19, 2012. Web.
This is a guest post written by Marc Siegel, a Master Trainer at New York Sports club and owner of Quantum Performance Training. He holds multiple licenses through the National Academy of Sports Medicine including: Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Marc is Titlist Performance Certified, as well as TRX Certified. In an effort to further his education in the fitness world, Marc is currently enrolled in the Nutrition Specialist and Special Populations courses.