One Baby Boomer in three now officially counts as obese - and another is overweight. That two-thirds of this aging generation (born 1946 to 1964) struggles with significant excess weight - multiple experts said - is a crisis. David Nico, author of Diet Diagnosis, went further: "This is not a health crisis. It's a tragedy."
That's because obesity is not an isolated issue. It is correlated with a range of health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, kidney problems, and more. "Obesity impacts every organ in the body, " said Dr. Adrienne Youdim, an obesity expert and head of the Center for Weight Loss and Nutrition at the Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills.
"Obesity is right after smoking related lung cancer as a leading cause of preventable deaths," added Youdim.
That's key: for the most part obesity is a preventable disease.
And yet the aging Boomer cohort finds itself aswim in an epidemic of obesity.
Know that there are possible cures. Optimism is plentiful. Also plentiful are insights into exactly how we got into this mess.
First definitions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control define obesity in terms of body mass index (BMI, which is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). A BMI of 25 to 30 is overweight. Over 30 is obese. Morbid obesity is 40+.
The CDC puts heights and weights around this. A 5'9" person is considered normal if the weight is 125 to 168 pounds. Overweight if 169 to 202. Obese if 203 to 270 pounds. Morbidly obese if upwards of 270 pounds.