America is a booming nation – not just in population, it seems. As of yesterday, I was one of 72 million Americans that can be called obese, a recent CDC report suggests, stating that obesity is “common, serious, and costly.” Medical costs are skyrocketing up to $147 billion annually, and Colorado and DC are the only states and districts with less than 20 percent obesity rates in 2009. Nine states were over 30 percent obese. There were no states over 30 percent in 2000. The CDC notes that First Lady Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s Move!” program in response to childhood obesity.
Southern states seem to be leading the obesity charge, specifically those along the lower Mississippi and inland, where all nine 30 percenters can be found. My own state, Maryland, falls right in at 26.2 percent, the CDC reports, much like the other 36 states.
We have farmers markets in my town and throughout Montgomery County, one of the healthy recommendations the CDC wants communities to follow. Bicycling, another suggested method of controlling growing waistlines, is encouraged by bike paths like the Capitol City Crescent Trail, scenically winding from Georgetown to Bethesda and on to Silver Spring. Working with HHS and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, my county’s Department of Recreation is part of “We Can!,” a program designed to encourage fitness, activity, and nutrition among children.
I’ve been struggling with my own weight issues since my metabolism started slowing down around age 25. I’m 38 now, so this year I decided that 13 years of being overweight were more than enough. For my part, I turned to meticulously counting calories, running from work to the Metro station about three miles away everyday, and more general exercise at the gym to help shed pounds.
Running in Montgomery County isn’t difficult to do, as there are plenty of well-marked paths and trails. It is a bit of a challenge only because drivers along my running commute don’t pay close attention; even when I have the right of way, I often find I have to cede to common sense and step back when cars decide to shove through turns whether I’m there or not.
According to the CDC, anyone over a BMI of 30 is obese. I’m pleased to say that, as of today, I’ve lost 26 pounds, and that number puts me right at 29.8. It’s not an end to my work, obviously, and BMI is an imperfect scale for body fat, but it’s an accomplishment I’m really proud of. Considering all the hard work I’ve put in, I’m glad to be heading into a healthy weight range for myself and my family.
Vital Signs August 2010, “Adult Obesity Obesity Rises Among Adults” CDC
CDC, “U.S. Obesity Trends”
NHLBI, “We Can! Montgomery County”