When we think about the health issues associated with obesity what usually comes to mind is conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But think again, the connection between obesity and arthritis starts at an early age.
First let’s start with the numbers. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 5 Americans is diagnosed with arthritis. But for people who are overweight or obese, that number increases to a startling 2 out of 3 (67%) of people.
Without getting into all the social issues that contribute to this, large meal portions, increased sugar- based drinks, fast foods, inactivity etc., it’s the overall lifestyle that begins at a younger age that sets the stage. If you are prone to being heavy while you are young there’s a fair to good chance that will be who you are as an adult.
The fact is that worldwide childhood obesity has increased by 50% over the past 30 years.
This is not new information but is seems to be only widely known inside the medical community. There have been numerous studies and research dating back to over a decade ago.
While there are many treatments, one of the best non-surgical treatments is patient education.
What are some possible solutions:
- Higher availability of healthy foods
- Reduced advertising of less healthy foods.
- Increased quality physical activity in schools.
- Increase community locations to play and be more active.
- Decrease portion sizes.
- Decrease time spent on media entertainment devices including use of social media platforms on smart phones.
In recent trip to Europe I immediately noticed the smaller portion sizes at restaurants, perhaps something that should be considered in this country.
It can be as simple for most children as a diet rich in calcium and other nutrients, regular, physical activity (of 30 – 60 minutes a day).
At Physicians Medical Group, Patient Education is an important treatment that can be combined with other treatments options.