Are Americans more obsessed with weight loss than other cultures? Well, maybe we should be. The obesity statistics are scary. According to the American Heart Association, among children ages 2–19, about 1 in 3 are overweight and obese. Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults. This increases to 80 percent if one or both parents are overweight or obese. In fact, a Stanford University School of Medicine study showed that having obese parents is the factor that most increases the likelihood of childhood obesity.
Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but one of the most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.
In the U.S., there are “support” programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. There are mail order programs like NutriSystem. The latest trend is the Boot Camp exercise programs. Pop culture has brought us the TV show “The Biggest Loser.” There are weight loss drugs, weight loss shakes, weight loss bars, and even weight loss surgery. Americans want quick fixes, but the results are painfully obvious–a culture that has still not figured out a long-term solution to weight management.
Can the natural products industry have an impact? Can a long-term approach be implemented to consume nutritious food and supplements that ultimately create permanent results? Natural products companies must work to educate and create efficacious products that make changes to body composition and metabolism that increase the body’s ability to burn calories. And these changes do not depend on a large reduction in the calories consumed. The changes depend on adjustments made to the foods eaten and on the addition of certain supplements to the diet.
The result will be a decrease in fatty tissue and an increase in the ratio of lean muscle tissue to adipose (fat) tissue in the body. And an increase in lean tissue not only burns calories, but also gives women their shapely figures and men their muscle tone. In any successful weight-loss regimen, you will be able to judge yourself by how you look in the mirror and how your clothes fit rather than by how much you weigh.