Obesity: A Major Contributor to Rising Death Rates

rising death rates

After years of decline, mortality rates among middle-aged Americans throughout the United States have begun to increase. Additionally, in some parts of the country, life expectancy is falling.

What are the factors contributing to this rise in death rates? A recent article in the Denver Post highlighted the findings of a new study that sheds some light on this important issue.

Obesity a major contributor to rising death rates

Ryan Masters, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Behavioral Science and the lead author of this study, concluded that there are two main drivers of this trend in rising death rates: drug overdoses and obesity.

Masters and his research team identified the opioid epidemic as the bigger problem of these two drivers. According to the study, drug-related deaths of middle-aged white men have increased dramatically since 1980.

Obesity was also identified as a main factor in mortality. “We are just starting to see the real health consequences of the obesity epidemic,” Masters wrote. The study found that decades-long progress in fighting heart disease, diabetes and other metabolic diseases has slowed, contributing to the rising death rates.

Dr. Dirk’s opinion

Dr. Dirk agrees with the study’s conclusion that obesity is killing a lot of people. He also believes that, while the drug epidemic is dramatic, obesity affects far more people. There are many more obese people in the US than drug users, and more people die as a result of obesity because of the wide array of health issues it leads to, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

Dr. Dirk believes the drug epidemic is important and must be addressed. However, he feels that obesity is a more pressing issue with a simpler solution. It is high time to make being healthy financially and physically possible for everyone.


Study: Childhood obesity linked to mother’s perception of child’s weight

childhood obesity

Babies with chubby cheeks are rarely considered “fat” — they’re just babies, after all. But now that we know a child’s weight matters as early as age two, infant and childhood obesity is worth serious consideration.

In a recent study, more than half of mothers with overweight babies perceived their children as healthy. The University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance found a link between the mother’s perception (or misperception) of her child’s weight is tied directly to the child’s risk for obesity.

Dr. Dirk said he is not surprised by these results. In the past, an overweight child was often considered healthy, because most would grow out of their “baby fat.” This simply isn’t the case today.

“In the past, the overweight child would then be sent outside to play and burn lots of calories, which, combined with a growth spurt, reduced obesity,” he says. “In today’s American culture, outdoor play has all but disappeared. Children spend more time inside watching TV or looking at devices and eating-calorie dense food.”

This means parents need to pay close attention to their baby’s weight, and even closer attention if their pediatricians aren’t bringing it up. The study authors recommend public health nurses begin engaging mothers in conversations about their children’s health and nutrition. They also recommend having a conversation about the mothers’ own weight, as the study showed links between the mother’s perception of her own weight and her perception of her child’s weight.

It can be hard for doctors or nurses to bring up these kinds of topics. “Prior science has clearly pointed out that healthcare professionals do not talk to parents about weight or obesity issues regarding their children for fear of offending parents,” Dr. Dirk says.

This may be the worst part of all. Childhood and teenage obesity is a serious issue that can cause a wide range early-onset health problems, and it needs to be addressed by parents and healthcare professionals as soon as possible.

So next time you look at your child and think the “baby weight” will fall off one day, it may be time to start thinking about a nutrition plan to make sure it does. Learn more about our Dallas, TX Weight Loss Surgery Procedures.


Obesity Trends in the US Reflect Global Changes

obesity trends

While the obesity problem in the U.S. is often headline news, it’s now a worldwide epidemic.

A new study shows that the entire population has gained 3.3 pounds each year for 40 years, and there are now more than 640 million obese people across the globe. In fact, that number is so high, it has eclipsed the number of people who are dangerously underweight.

Though this is an international epidemic, the U.S. is still one of the most obese countries, with more than 13 percent of the population being morbidly obese and only 2.5 percent being underweight.

“After the 30 years doctors have spent calling out this serious medical condition, the world is starting to take notice.” Dr. Dirk says. “The continued issue is the failure of health organizations to recognize obesity as a medical condition.”

While doctors routinely treat the problem at the root of a patient’s symptoms, they rarely treat obesity the same way, even though its “symptoms” can be detrimental.

“Obesity is a medical condition that directly leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and acid reflux.” Dr. Dirk says. “It indirectly leads to joint pain, spine pain, heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

One solution is to put obesity surgery on the table at the beginning of the conversation between doctor and patient. Dr. Dirk says that recommending diet and exercise has been proven to fail, and by the time surgery is suggested (if it’s suggested at all), the above health effects have already begun to take their toll.

“When obesity becomes detrimental to a person’s health, surgery must be in the top three medical treatments to discuss with a patient,” Dr. Dirk says. “Weight Loss Surgery should be the discussion within one year of making the obesity diagnosis, or sooner when there are associated medical conditions.”

If you’re experiencing any of these conditions due to obesity and changing your lifestyle isn’t changing your weight, it might be time to talk with Dallas Weight Loss Surgeon,  Dr. Dirk. Get started.