Obesity is More Lethal Than Previously Thought

Obesity is More Lethal Than Previously Thought

Posted by Lori Shemek; August 18, 2013

You already knew obesity was not healthy right?  Well, it turns out that obesity is more of an insidious health threat than previously thought…in fact, much more.

A new study has shown that America’s obesity epidemic is far more lethal than once believed – four times higher! The research shows that 18.2% of premature deaths among black and white Americans between the ages of 40 and 85 years old  (between 1986 and 2006) were associated with obesity, according to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health

What were the previous estimates? At a low 5%. Apparently, all health issues in the past were absolutely acknowledged as to cause of death – except the main cause: Obesity. Obesity was largely ignored as a health threat.

Because younger generations have lived most of their lives obese and have been exposed longer to risk factors, this will only compound this epidemic.

“A 5-year-old growing up today is living in an environment where obesity is much more the norm than was the case for a 5-year-old a generation or two ago. Drink sizes are bigger, clothes are bigger and greater numbers of a child’s peers are obese,” study co-author Bruce Link, a professor of epidemiology and sociomedical sciences at Columbia, said in a statement. “And once someone is obese, it is very difficult to undo. So, it stands to reason that we won’t see the worst of the epidemic until the current generation of children grows old.”

If you have been following my work you know that my main focus with regard to weight gain and ill health is low level inflammation – the silent kind. Silent inflammation is the core cause of most illness, disease, faster aging and weight gain. This is the kind you can’t necessarily feel until the symptoms appear and this means the health condition has manifested.

Silent inflammation is there lurking 24/7 unbeknownst to most individuals. In fact, 75% of all Americans are walking around with it and do not even realize it. When the condition does manifest in its full-blown form, it looks like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and much more.

FatFlammation is another type of inflammation directly related to weight gain/obesity. It is much like silent inflammation but with a twist. Instead of having just one health condition from the inflammatory process, the individual will have a cluster of them such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Our fat cells are like tiny factories (especially in our abdominal area) that like to produce inflammatory molecules. When this happens, our metabolism slows down and creates weight gain, producing even more inflammatory molecules and more weight gain and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Looking at the core cause of obesity is looking to silent inflammation or FatFlammation and is a critical step to breaking the obesity epidemic. 

Through the generations we have changed our genetic expression (epigenetically) to one that encourages obesity and weight gain for 68% of all Americans via processed foods such as sugar, white flour, trans fats and other foods that set in motion a cascade of events that culminate into Low-level inflammation.

The study makes it apparent that if obesity continues to increase, it has the potential to cut short many lives, for many years and intervention is our key. In my next post I will provide tips on how to intervene in the best way to break the obesity cycle.

~Lori Shemek  

Ryan Masters, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City;
Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association; Aug. 15, 2013, American Journal of Public Health, online