Statement Describing the Challenge

Statement Describing the Challenge: For the last century the leading causes of death for Americans have been diseases of choice. A disease of choice is simply where our own bad choices and habits facilitate later morbidity that lead to poor quality of life and eventual death. Many of the top killing diseases of choice, are linked closely to poor diet and nutrition. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers make some of the top killers and add up to a total of more than 970,000 deaths in 2005 300,000 of which were strongly affected by obesity. Diabetes and especially child onset diabetes are becoming a pandemic over the country, and obesity levels have risen as high as 33% nationwide. This staggering trend is continuing to rise and is a principle factor while the predicted life expectancy for the rising generations is shorter then that of their parents. The root cause of such a rise lies in fundamental changes to the American way of life. With the increase in technology the number of hours of physical activity has fallen dramatically. Many adults today get less than 30 min of light exercise each day. However in sharp contrast our diets have ballooned exponentially. Portion sizes are significantly higher than in generations past, and many more of the foods consumed are high in sodium, fats, and have been processed well beyond their natural state. With a combination of increase in the amount of food, the decrease in nutrient value, and decrease in activity, it is little wonder why so many Americans suffer from weight related illness and conditions. While the solution is simple and strait forward in a logical sense, the reversal and prevention of these diseases of choice is much more difficult from a behavioral standpoint. Many of our eating habits are so engrained in the culture, that preventative methods quickly fall to convince and practicality. However with the right behavioral approaches success is attainable. By building a healthy diet and adhering to slightly reduced portions people can still eat foods they enjoy while maintaining a proper weight. Also by incorporating exercise into their daily routine people will be able to increase their aerobic strength, while decreasing body fat. The real key is to bring consistency and patience to the process. Often people become discouraged when they receive small or unnoticeable results. However with patience and determination many of these diseases can be prevented or managed more effectively. In extreme cases surgery and medication can be taken to reduce the intake of foods, however they are dangerous and should only be used in cases of extreme nature. By making seemingly small changes to ones day and incorporating healthy practices into a routine, managing weight can be non-stressful and still allow the pleasures associated with food. The key is to play off ones own interests, and enjoy the process, not simply desire the result. Only when one makes a lifestyle change (even if subtle) that real results and proper prevention may be achieved. And obesity be prevented.

Non-Drug Treatments

Non-Drug Treatments: Educate children on proper portion size and healthy eating habits. Lead by example. Participate in aerobic exercise at least four times each week for at least 30min. Assess proper diets and plan meals in accordance with good nutrition but still enjoyable. Limit snacking and control portion size. Plan meals in advance and schedule meal times.

Alternative Medicine Treatments

Alternative Medicine Treatments: Gastric by-pass and other surgery to reduce the size of the stomach. Liposuction can provide a temporary removal of fat cells. Stimulants and other treatments for a deficient hypothalamus. Mediation, proper appetite suppressing foods (high fiber, low sugar)

Drug Therapy

Drug-Therapy: OTC orlistat an FDA approved medication that has been shown to aid in weight loss in conjunction with exercise and diet. Orlistat helps produce weight loss by decreasing the intestinal absorption of fat. Leptin (hormone) therapy can be applied to individuals with a resistant hypothalamus in order to help with a sensation of satiation.