A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests that few Americans realize the many ways obesity can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea and other less common conditions.
The poll found about 25 percent of people think it's possible for someone to be very overweight and still be healthy. Seventy percent knew about the added risk of heart disease and diabetes but were for the most part unaware of the many other potential consequences, with only seven percent identifying increased cancer risk. About 15 percent were aware of the extra stress on joints and increased arthritis.
Many never mentioned high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, respiratory problems like asthma and sleep apnea or infertility. Only 52 percent said that they had discussed the health risks of being overweight with a doctor. About half of those surveyed thought their current weight was about right, and only 12 percent thought their child was overweight, even though current government figures show the numbers are much higher.
"We are becoming a country of overweight people," say boomer generation health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D., and Tom Griesel, authors of the books TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (April 2011, BSH) and The TurboCharged Mind (January 2012, BSH). "We look around and compare ourselves to others, especially in our family, thinking we're normal or close to it. The current obesity epidemic is a driving force in our escalating and unsustainable rise in healthcare-related costs. We need to take responsibility for and control of our own health and that of our families."