Two-thirds of adults in America are overweight or obese, putting them at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, sleep apnea, and other illnesses.
I had the chance to discuss the impact of obesity on our lives at CNN’s Fit Nation tour this past weekend in St. Paul, Minn., in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon. Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosted a panel on multiple health and wellness issues, and obesity was a major focus. I have "tweeted" several messages about the event. Joining me on the panel were Jillian Michaels, fitness expert and trainer on The Biggest Loser; NHLBI grantee Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a community nutrition professor at the University of Minnesota; and Jim Kauffman, national director for health and well-being at YMCA of the USA. I was delighted to speak alongside such inspiring health activists and to be invited back to Fit Nation later this month for the Marine Corps Marathon here in Washington, DC.
Overweight children have a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese adults, facing health problems that can reduce the length and lower the quality of their lives. But we don’t have to accept this sobering statistic. We are given a chance to reduce our weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle with every action we take, such as parking farther away from the store when running errands, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and choosing lower-calorie foods at every meal—whatever we can work into our days. Dr. Gupta's Web site offers some inspiring success stories.
To have healthy kids, we need to build healthy families, and that starts with healthy parents. The NIH's We Can!™ national education program, offers resources for parents and communities to help children maintain a healthy weight by improving food choices, becoming more active, and spending less time in front of the computer or TV. You can calculate your body mass index, or BMI, on the NHLBI Web site. If it turns out you or a loved one fall into the "overweight" or "obese" group along with so many other Americans, please take action. You owe it to yourself to stay healthy and fit! This takes a lot of courage, and we at the NHLBI support you.
|NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. (second from right) spoke about obesity and other health topics at the Fit Nation tour in St. Paul, Minn. Fellow panelists included (l to r): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "Fit Nation"; NHLBI grantee and University of Minnesota nutrition professor Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer; Jim Kauffman, national director for health and well-being at YMCA of the USA; and Jillian Michaels, fitness expert and trainer on The Biggest Loser.|