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Once considered an aesthetic rather than a medical problem, obesity is now officially recognized as a major public health problem. No longer the lifestyle disease of the affluent west, it is growing at an alarming rate both in the industrialized countries and the developing world. The World Health Organization (WHO) terms it a rising epidemic. Unless steps are taken to deal with the increase in obesity, it could double early in the next millennium.

Obesity is the result of multiple factors. These include eating more than is necessary, insufficient physical activity, a genetic disposition, endocrine abnormalities and a medical condition.

Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on health. Carrying extra fat leads to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon). These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.

What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight. Many of these conditions cause long-term suffering for individuals and families. In addition, the costs for the health care system can be extremely high.

The good news is that overweight and obesity are largely preventable. The key to success is to achieve an energy balance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories used on the other hand.

To reach this goal, people can limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and limit their intake of sugars. And to increase calories used, people can boost their levels of physical activity - to at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days.

Learn how taking Bio-Slender (OTC) a weight loss aid can help suppress your appetite and help you obtain your goals.

Visit the American Obesity Treatment Association to learn more about Obesity and how you can make a difference.

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