OVERWEIGHT & Obesity

  • We need to keep more people well and out of the health care system.  About 10% of healthcare costs in the U.S. result from obesity.  (“The Doctor is In,” Dr. Toby Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic President & CEO, CBS This Morning, March 31, 2017)

  • People who experience chronic, long-term stress may also be more prone to weight gain and obesity.  People tend to report overeating and consuming "comfort foods" high in fat, sugar, and calories when they are feeling stressed.   (Obesity Journal, "Chronic stress linked to a bigger waistline in new study," CBS News, February 23, 2017)

    Grateful people are more stress resistant.  Learn more on Spokane Cares

    Find out why those who serve others are happier, healthier and more prosperous.
    http://spokanecares.org/volunteers-happier-healthier-prosperous.php

  • Being underweight or overweight can increase the risk of migraine headaches.  People who were obese were found to be 27% more likely to suffer migraines than people of normal weight.  Underweight patients were 13% more likely.  (Johns Hopkins University study, April 2017)

  • Excess weight and obesity linked to 8 more cancer types.  There is yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight as we age.  An international team of researchers reviewed over 1,000 studies and identified 8 types of cancer linked to excess weight and obesity: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma (a type of brain tumor), thyroid cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.  ("Obesity and Cancer," August 2016, New England Journal of Medicine  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160824212212.htm
  • Women's risk for 4 cancers goes up the more years spent overweight.  The longer a woman is overweight, the higher her risk of several cancers, researchers report.  The study, which followed nearly 74,000 U.S. women, found that the longer a woman carried excess pounds, the greater her risk of breast, endometrial, colon and kidney cancers.  The risk of developing any of those cancers rose in tandem with the number of years a woman had been overweight.

    "We’ve known for a long time that excess weight is important in cancer risk,” said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.  On average, the study found, the odds rose by 10 percent for every 10 years a woman had been obese. Similarly, they climbed by 7 percent for every decade she’d been overweight.
But the findings do not prove excess weight causes these cancers.  It is difficult to isolate the effects of obesity, per se, since it often goes hand-in-hand with lifestyle habits and medical conditions that have also been linked to cancer.  A body of research supports the idea that excess weight itself influences cancer development.

The cancer society says excess weight contributes to as many as 20 percent of all cancer deaths.  “This study is interesting because it suggests that the number of years you spend being overweight also matters,” said Gapstur, who was not involved in the research.  And that, she said, should provide further incentive to avoid excess weight gain in the first place.

Currently, about 7 out of 10 adults in the United States are overweight, and more than one-third are obese , according to background notes with the study.  

The bottom line, Gapstur said, is simple: “Try to maintain a healthy weight throughout adulthood.”

Malina Arnold of the International Agency for Research on Cancer agreed. “Having a healthy body weight is always beneficial -- not only to prevent cancer, but also other diseases associated with [excess weight],” she said.

The study appears in the Aug. 16, 2016 issue of the online journal PLOS Medicine, "Women's risk for 4 cancers goes up the more years spent overweight," by Amy Norton, CBS News, August 17, 2016)

Statistics
  • In Spokane County, 31% of adults were obese in 2013, and 25% of adolescents were overweight or obese in 2014.  Among youth, being overweight or obese decreased as maternal education level increased and was more likely among males. Black and Native American/Alaska Native youth were more likely to be overweight or obese when compared to whites.  (Spokane Counts 2015, page 10, Spokane Regional Health District)
  • Adults in the U.S. have one of the highest obesity rates in the world.  Over 1/3 of U.S. adults 20 years and older are obese, while over 2/3 are overweight.  (CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011-2012)  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm