Supersizing Could Cost Your Health

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Today the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity released a report on how Super sizing your take-out meal can have negative impacts to your health.

The group says the growing portion sizes are causing Americans to have growing waistlines. That may not come as much of a surprise, but what might is how bad the problem is.

In fact, obesity rates in adults rose by 60 percent between 1990 and 2000, but what's even more startling, childhood obesity rates have doubled over the last 20 years. Extended Web Coverage

What Causes Obesity

The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors.

Basically, obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese.

However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

  • poor eating habits
  • overeating or binging
  • lack of exercise
  • family history of obesity
  • medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
  • medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
  • family and peer problems
  • low self-esteem
  • depression or other emotional problems

What Are the Risks and Complications?

  • increased risk of heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • breathing problems
  • trouble sleeping

Ways to Manage Obesity

  • start a weight-management program
  • change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
  • plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods)
  • control portions and consume less calories
  • increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle
  • know what your child eats at school
  • eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
  • do not use food as a reward
  • limit snacking
  • attend a support group (e.g., Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous)

Source: (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).