Obesity Nation: America’s Growing Obesity Crisis

Food additives in raw and prepared foods and unlabeled GMO ingredients will dramatically increase the number of fat people to almost half of the population.

By NANCI HELLMICH | USA TODAY | MAY 8, 2012

A new forecast on America’s obesity crisis has health experts fearing a dramatic jump in health care costs if nothing is done to bring the epidemic under control.

The new projection, released here Monday, warns that 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030, and 11% could be severely obese, adding billions of dollars to health care costs.

“If nothing is done (about obesity), it’s going to hinder efforts for health care cost containment,” says Justin Trogdon, a research economist with RTI International, a non-profit research organization in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

As of 2010, about 36% of adults were obese, which is roughly 30 pounds over a healthy weight, and 6% were severely obese, which is 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight.

“The obesity problem is likely to get much worse without a major public health intervention,” says Eric Finkelstein, a health economist with Duke University Global Health Institute and lead researcher on the new study.

The analysis was presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weight of the Nation” meeting. The study is being published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The increase in the obesity rate would mean 32 million more obese people within two decades, Finkelstein says. That’s on top of the almost 78 million people who were obese in 2010.

Extra weight takes a huge toll on health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, sleep apnea and other debilitating and chronic illnesses.

“Obesity is one of the biggest contributors for why healthcare spending has been going up over the past 20 years,” says Kenneth Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University in Atlanta.

The obesity rate was relatively stable in the USA between 1960 and 1980, when about 15% of people fell into the category. It increased dramatically in the ’80s and ’90s and was up to 32% in 2000 and 36% in 2010, according to CDC data. Obesity inched up slightly over the past decade, which has caused speculation that the obesity rate might be leveling off.

Finkelstein, Trogdon and colleagues predicted future obesity rates with a statistical analysis using different CDC data, including body mass index, of several hundred thousand people. Body mass is a number that takes into account height and weight. Their estimates suggest obesity is likely to continue to increase, although not as fast as it has in the past.

Finkelstein says the estimates assume that things have gotten about as bad as they can get in the USA, in terms of an environment that promotes obesity. The country “is already saturated” with fast-food restaurants, cheap junk food and electronic technologies that render people sedentary at home and work, he says. “We don’t expect the environment to get much worse than it is now, or at least we hope it doesn’t.”

In an earlier study, Finkelstein and experts from the CDC estimated that medical-related costs of obesity may be as high as $147 billion a year, or roughly 9% of medical expenditures. An obese person costs an average of $1,400 more in medical expenses a year than someone who is at a healthy weight, they found. Other researchers have estimated the costs may be even higher.

If the obesity rate stays at 2010 levels instead of rising to 42% as predicted, then the country could save more than $549.5 billion in weight-related medical expenditures between now and 2030, says study co-author Trogdon.

Patrick O’Neil, president of the Obesity Society, a group of weight-control researchers and professionals, says that these new projections “indicate that even more people will be losing loved ones and others will be suffering sickness and living lives that fall short of their promise because of obesity.”

There’s no one-size-fits all solution to a complex problem that has been decades in the making, says Sam Kass, assistant chef and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House. “This national conversation — this national movement — must continue. This is literally life and death we are talking about.”

Read Full Article →

More than one in 10 of the world’s population is obese

Scientists warn of ‘tsunami of obesity’ as Western lifestyles spread across the globe

The Independent
January 4, 2011

The world is facing a “population emergency” as soaring rates of obesity threaten a pandemic of cardiovascular disease, scientists have warned.

The spread of Western fast food was blamed as the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru was named as the fattest in the world. Its average Body Mass Index is between 34 and 35, 70 per cent higher than in some countries in South-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

More than one in 10 of the world’s population is obese – more than half a billion adults – and rates have doubled since 1980. The biggest increases are in the richer nations but almost every country has seen rates rise.

Only Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo and a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa and east and south Asia have escaped the rise. Yet even in these regions neighbouring countries have had widely differring experiences. The women of Southern Africa are among the fattest in the world.

The rise is being driven by increasing urbanisation, the growth of sedentary, office-based lifestyles and the substitution of Western-style fast foods for traditional diets. Researchers from Imperial College London and McMaster University in Canada, writing in The Lancet, describe it as a “tsunami of obesity that will eventually affect all regions of the world”.

In its wake comes an epidemic of heart disease and stroke, linked with high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. Remarkably, high-income countries such as the US and UK have managed to avoid this, by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol with drugs and dietary changes, such as reducing salt and fats. Smoking too, one of the key causes of heart disease, has fallen. (Japan is an exception where historically low cholesterol levels, associated with the nation’s high consumption of fish, have risen to levels seen in western Europe, as the Japanese adopt a Western diet.)

But in middle and low-income countries the outlook is “dismal”. “Considering all risk-factor trends together, the forecast for cardiovascular disease burden… comprises a population emergency that will cost tens of millions of preventable deaths, unless rapid and widespread actions are taken by governments and health care systems worldwide,” the researchers say.

Treating the consequences of the obesity explosion with drugs will create an “unsustainable financial burden” in these countries and there is an “urgent need” to understand why unhealthy behaviours are adopted by both individuals and communities.

With an increasing trend towards globalisation and urbanisation, the problem is likely to get worse rather than better. “Ironically the economic growth of low-income and middle- income countries is now threatened by the projected cardiovascular disease epidemic,” they say.

Citing the noted British epidemiologist Geoffrey Rose, the authors say: “Mass disease and mass exposures require mass remedies. Mass remedies require the masses to be part of the solution.”

The world obesity map

Fastest growing: US

The US saw the biggest rise in BMI of all developed nations between 1980 and 2008, more than 1kg a decade. Increasingly sedentary occupations, less walking and cycling, more driving in cars and rising consumption of fast foods and sugary drinks are behind the rise which affects all high-income countries.

Slimming down: Italy

Italy is the only high-income country in Europe where BMI declined – for women, from 25.2 to 24.8. Even among men, Italy saw one of the smallest increases. The classic Mediterranean diet – pasta, vegetables and fruit – is one of the healthiest in the world.

Fattening up: UK

The UK has the sixth highest BMI in Europe for women and the ninth highest for men (both around 27). The rate of increase has been second only to the US for men. One in four men and one in three women is overweight and about 12 million are obese.

South America’s biggest: Chile

Chile with an average BMI of 27.0 for men and 27.9 for women, was the heaviest country in southern Latin America. The scale of increase in obesity in southern Latin America is second only to the US among men and ranks fifth among women. Rates of obesity soared in Chile with the end of its dictatorship in 1990 and a surge in fast food restaurants and some critics are now calling for a junk food tax to be imposed.

World’s thinnest: Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the world’s thinnest nation, with an average BMI of 20.5 for women and 20.4 for men. Rice is the staple diet and millions go without enough to eat. More than half of children – more than 9 million – are underweight and have stunted growth.

Fattest on earth: Nauru

Nauru is the world’s fattest country, with an average BMI of 34 to 35. Located in the south Pacific it is the smallest island nation, with a population of less than 10,000. Obesity has grown as a result of the importation of Western foods paid for with proceeds from phosphate mining. The most popular dish is fried chicken and cola.

Psychiatric Meds 101: A Surprising Discovery

Shane Ellison M. Sc.

I ask questions with period marks to shorten conversations. I avoid eye contact with strangers in fear (maybe it’s anxiety) that I might learn too much about them. I secretly think that Metallica would be making better music if they went back to bludgeoning themselves with party drugs and alcohol, instead of “therapy.” I’m trying to master the Law of Un-attraction to shield myself from a “real job,” small homes and junky cars. And, I’m constantly giving my children advice, only to give it to myself.

Psychiatry, can your drugs help me?

Perhaps these questions are what motivated me to pursue a career as a drug design chemist, winning multiple awards for my work. Nothing gets me more excited than drugs and how they affect the body (except my wife’s abs). I’ve studied their molecular anatomy, risked life and limb to mix and match explosive chemicals in a round bottom flask, and even sold my soul to Big Pharma in exchange for a lab bench and chemical hood.

During this time, I’ve made some surprising discoveries about psychiatric meds, which include antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs. Understanding what I’ve learned will protect you from the flood of side effects that are now being discovered at breakneck speeds, courtesy of the myriad of patients taking them in the name of mental health.

Your Own Personal Hell

Antidepressants strive to increase the levels of a “coping” molecule known as serotonin in the brain. It supposedly helps us find happiness when it’s covered in an avalanche of nastiness. But, it’s never been proven. Still, the drugs attempt to boost serotonin by “selectively” stopping the “reuptake” among brain cells. This is where the whole SSRI acronym came from – “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.” It’s a slick name, but a stupid idea. Nothing is selective in the body.

While trying to block the reuptake of serotonin, antidepressants can also prevent its release and that of another brain compound known as dopamine. The areas of the brain responsible for release and reuptake of these neurotransmitters are so damn similar (after all, they work on the same molecule) that an antidepressant drug isn’t smart enough to understand which one it is supposed to work on. So it does what any dumb drug would do, it blocks both. That’s why users usually carry a glassy stare in their eye. Fully under the psychiatric spell, they’ve tuned out.

Deep sadness, fear, anger and aggression can set in over time. By removing serotonin and dopamine from the brain, long-term antidepressant users can’t find or feel happiness. Instead, they may become buried in the avalanche of nastiness. And if you can’t find or feel happiness in life, what’s the point? What’s going to stop you from snapping your own neck or spraying bullets on your classmates? Not much when you live in your own personal antidepressant hell.

Think this is all opinion?

According to the FDA, antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior, worsening depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, aggression, psychotic episodes and violence. Some even cause homicidal ideation according to the manufacturers. Many long-term antidepressant users will tell you they no longer feel normal emotions—they’re numb, like zombies.

But the side effects of these drugs aren’t limited to hijacking your feelings and emotional state, causing violent and psychotic states. Physical side effects occur too and include abnormal bleeding, birth defects, heart attack, seizures and sudden death. Over one hundred and seventy drug regulatory warnings and studies have been issued on antidepressants, to sound the alarm on these side effects.

For Elephant Use Only

Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic meds such as Zyprexa and Seroquel, for anything from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, psychotic depression, autism or anything else they can think of, even “pervasive developmental disorder,” which is perfect for boosting sales because it targets children who suffer from irritability, aggression, and agitation. It’s a shame ‘cause these drugs are good for nothing but sedating irate elephants, not curing psychiatric disease.

According to a study published in Psychological Medicine, antipsychotic drugs cause brains to shrink – they lessen brain matter and volume. Originally designed for those deemed “schizophrenic,” the drug companies came up with a brilliant marketing campaign to sell these drugs to a much wider market—unsatisfied antidepressant users. You’ve probably seen the ads—if your “depression medication” isn’t working, then don’t blame the drug; you may just have bipolar disorder!”

Once swallowed, antipsychotics sail through the blood stream where they’re carried to the brain. Like a giant oil spill, antipsychotics cover the brain in a medicinal slick, where brain wave transmission is blocked. Users become devoid of normal brain activity. Motivation, drive and feelings of reward are shunted. If psychiatry considers this a “treatment,” they’re the crazy ones.

If you’ve ever seen someone who has suffered from the “spill” courtesy of following doctor’s orders, you can’t mistake one of the most common side effects, it’s called Akathisia. Involuntary movements, tics, jerks in the face and the entire body can become permanent side effects for antipsychotic users.

Antipsychotics also cause obesity, diabetes, stroke, cardiac events, respiratory problems, delusional thinking and psychosis. Drug regulators from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa warn that they can also lead to death. I wouldn’t be surprised if psychiatrists considered this a cure…

Use This to Jump The Grand Canyon

If you’re going to attempt to jump your scooter over the Grand Canyon, or ride your snowboard off Kilimanjaro, stimulants are great. They flood the brain with dopamine and trigger an inhuman surge of adrenaline, responsible for making you believe life is grand, despite eminent death. Outside of that, you’re either a speed freak, a college student trying to learn an entire semester of Biology 101 in 4 hours, or a fifth grader “following doctor’s orders.”

Top stimulants being prescribed today are nothing more than a mix of amphetamines packaged into trade names like Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin. Street thugs sell it as meth, poor man’s cocaine, crystal, ice, glass and speed. It’s no wonder kids are now abusing Ritalin, Adderall and these drugs more than street drugs, they’re cheaper to get and they’re “legal,” hence the term kiddie cocaine.

Even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes Ritalin in the Schedule ll category, meaning a high potential for abuse—just like cocaine and morphine. All of them have the same effects regardless of how they’re named: Central nervous system overload leading to heart attack and/or heart failure. And kids are dropping faster than Meth Heads at Raves…

I’m not exaggerating.

Eleven international drug regulatory agencies and our own FDA has issued warnings that stimulants like Ritalin cause addiction, depression, insomnia, drug dependence, mania, psychosis, heart problems, stroke and sudden death.

Bash Your Head in with Anti-Anxiety Drugs

If you’re not man enough for a drug that could sedate an elephant like antipsychotics, then psychiatrists will prescribe anti-anxiety meds, particularly benzodiazepines. Choosing between the two is akin to deciding whether or not you should be hit in the head with an aluminum bat or a wooden one; anti-anxiety meds being the latter.

Discovered in the stinky chemistry labs of Hoffman La Roche in 1955, anti-anxiety meds aim to trigger sleep receptors in the brain, just slightly. So, rather than being riddled with anxiety, you are put to sleep, halfway. It’s “treatment,” and psychiatrists have been “practicing it for decades.” But, it has yet to work, because drugging your problems away is more dangerous than anxiety. The use of anti-anxiety meds is coupled with a host of nasty side effects such as seizures, aggression and violence once the drug wears off. Hallucinations, delusional thinking, confusion, abnormal behavior, hostility, agitation, irritability, depression and suicidal thinking are all possible outcomes according to Big Pharma’s heavily guarded research papers.

Getting off the drugs could be harder than abandoning a heroin addiction. Some have described withdrawal from “benzos” being akin to pulling hundreds of fish hooks out of their skin, without anesthesia. If you doubt their addictive nature, go to Google search and type in a few of the leading anti-anxiety drugs like Klonopin or Xanax and here is what you’ll find:

“Klonopin withdrawal” 1,860,000 results
“Xanax withdrawal” 1,980,000 results
Exposing Psychiatry: How to Get The Truth

In total, the side effects of psychiatric meds spread far and wide. And most are hidden from patients and doctors alike. Fortunately, Citizens Commission on Human Rights has solved this problem with a state-of-the-art database that allows people to search through the adverse reaction reports sent to the FDA on psychiatric drugs. It also provides international drug regulatory agency warnings and studies published on the side effects of the drugs.

So, can psychiatry help me? No. And that’s surprising because psychiatric meds are some of the biggest selling drugs, poised to seal the hopes and dreams of millions. Regardless of what mental state I might be in (or anyone else for that matter), there is not a single drug that cures, treats or solves the perceived problems of mental health.

While people can suffer miserably from emotional or mental duress that can hinder their lifestyle, the pseudo-science of psychiatry has yet to solve any of these problems, and in fact only contributes to poor health as seen by the wide array of side effects. Marketing campaigns and ghostwritten medical journals are designed to obscure these facts. But the psychiatric drug side effect database courtesy of CCHR ensures that all patients have access to the truth, to the documented facts, which could save their life or that of a loved one.