Could the fat police be looking for me?

I have been struggling with my weight for some time and only maintained a normal weight during a fifteen year period where I ran almost every day. After two laparoscopic surgeries on my right knee, it has become arthritic and running is not an option. In hindsight I could have found an alternative exercise option but I didn't. Instead, I told myself that I was just too busy to exercise and besides, my knee was and is brutally painful.

My story is probably not unusual in America these days. Obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions according to most government and public health sources. What is especially troubling is the significant number of youth that are already overweight and the rate at which obesity is increasing among this age group. Seventy two million adults in America are overweight. 18 percent of American children are overweight and the rates have doubled for adults since 1980 and tripled for children. Type II diabetes, once a disease of adults, is now all too common among children. A recent CDC study of 15-17 year olds found that 70 percent of those tested already had one cardiovascular risk factor and 39 percent had more than one risk factor.

Some researchers have proffered an ominous forecast for obese youth. Many of today's obese children may not live as long as their parents if they are unable to maintain a healthier weight. Given what is known about obesity may cause some to conclude that somewhere in the not too distant future, a "perfect storm" is waiting to happen in our health care system.

Obesity influences many illnesses including, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, back problems, sleep issues and on and on. The human, personal cost of obesity will be titanic and the financial cost may be so great that it will challenge the health care system capacity by a "factor of fifty" when compared to today. Last year, the Mississippi legislature took a radical step to punctuate the seriousness of the obesity problem in their state. Mississippi has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country. House Bill 282 was offered to the legislature by Representative W.T. Mayhall.

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