Weight problems may be all in your head—or at least in your brain, according to an emerging body of brain-imaging work and related research on cravings, overeating and addictive responses to food. Daniel Amen, MD, one of the world’s best-known neuropsychiatrists, has worked with tens of thousands of patients from 90 countries for more than 20 years and has recently gathered results and insights related to the brain-fat connection in his best-selling book, The Amen Solution: The Brain Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Keep It Off (Crown 2011).
Since 1980, global obesity has more than doubled. Sixty-five percent of the world’s people now live in countries where overweight and obesity cause more deaths than underweight. In 2010, nearly 43 million children below the age of 5 were overweight (WHO 2011). In spite of global awareness and isolated attempts to face this crisis head-on, the fact remains that our kids are fat and getting fatter.
Obesity is preventable. If we don’t help our children find their way out of the downward spiral of obesity, what will their world be like when they grow up?
As the economy slumps, health experts expect more Americans to develop paunchy guts and bigger butts by packing on “recession pounds.” Plunging personal earnings lead to tighter spending; and many people ditch their gym memberships and buy fewer fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and low-fat meats in favor of cheaper edibles loaded with sugar and fat. Couple that with the specter of unemployment and stress and we have the perfect recipe for weight gain.
The obesity epidemic seems to be attracting more interest than ever in our nation’s capital. Considering the burden that obesity places on our healthcare system and, ultimately, our ballooning deficit, there is a dire need for us to continue attacking this problem. We made two trips to Washington, DC, in December and January to meet with leaders of two important groups working toward eliminating obesity: the Let’s Move campaign and the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA).
All of the benefits that healthy, normal-weight clients gain from Pilates are also available to overweight and obese students (Cakmakci 2012). This article offers real-life strategies and practical tips for instructors passionate about helping larger clients discover the joy of movement.
newsletter_teaser: All of the benefits that healthy, normal-weight clients gain from Pilates are also available to overweight and obese students (Cakmakci 2012). This article offers real-life strategies and practical tips for instructors passionate about helping larger clients discover the joy of movement.
Elevated stress is a risk factor for cancer, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (Block et al. 2009). How stress influences eating behaviors and leads to obesity is a key topic of interest to researchers and exercise professionals.
Dr. Muth is a pediatrician, registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Muth also serves as an ACE Senior Fitness Consultant and subject matter expert, regularly contributing to ACE blogs and to the ACE Certified News monthly newsletter. Her first book, Eat Your Vegetables and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters, was published by Healthy Learning in May 2012.
ACE: As a registered dietitian and pediatrician, what would you say is the biggest challenge we face in overcoming the obesity epidemic?
If you’ve ever gotten your car stuck in the snow or the mud, you know how maddening it can be to try to find that tiny bit of traction you need to get going again. Despite knowing you’re only digging a deeper hole, you press the gas pedal to the floor, expecting to move forward. The wheels just spin. Being hopeful and having a strong desire to be free don’t fix your problem. Clearly, a tow chain would change everything.
We have an inactivity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active” (WHO 2011a). Physical inactivity is associated with 6% of deaths globally—behind only high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and high blood glucose (6%) (WHO 2012; WHO 2011b). A 2009 WHO study found that physical inactivity was the leading cause of death in the United States.