The prevalence of obesity among adults in Louisiana has long been a major health concern, rising from 12.3 percent in 1990 to 30.8 percent in 2006, an overall increase of 150 percent.. However, the United Health Foundation’s 2007 report noted a positive step on this front: From 2006 to 2007, the prevalence of obesity in the state declined to 27.1 percent.
Understanding what is considered as average weight, overweight and obese is essential to knowing where the danger lies. An individual’s body mass index (BMI), an index of weight relative to height, is used to estimate the percentage of fat a person has on his or her body. A person is defined as overweight if his or her BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9 and obese if their BMI is greater than 30.0.
A person’s metabolism, food intake and activity level are the three primary factors that most directly affect his or her weight. While people with certain physical disorders may have issues controlling their weight, most people can regulate it by balancing their food intake with the appropriate amount of physical activity. It may seem simple but most do not regulate their weight properly, and as a result the percentage of people categorized as overweight or obese has been steadily and dramatically increasing over the past decade.
Being overweight and/or obese substantially increases the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, type II diabetes (adult onset), heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and various cancers.
Recent studies indicate that 30 percent of Louisiana diabetics are overweight and another 57 percent are obese. In order to maintain an ideal body weight, we must make the appropriate lifestyle choices. Practicing healthy eating habits is essential to weight control. Take a minute to calculate your Body Mass Index.