A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 3: Weight Management 46 individual’s eating habits is the only factor related to and contributing to obesity is simply unfair and biased. Similarly, weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting or the process of repeated dieting resulting in the same few pounds being lost and then regained) is also associated with numerous negative health outcomes such as systemic inflammation, hypertension, insulin resistance, and hyperlipidemia (Montani et al., 2015; Strohacker & McFarlin, 2010). Obesity Statistics The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020) provides the following statistics regarding the prevalence of obesity in the United States: • In 2008, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion. • From 1999 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. • From 1999 to 2018, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. It should be noted that the increase in numbers is in part due to the cutoffs for overweight and obesity being lowered in 1998 by the National Institute of Health, reclassifying over 40 million Americans (Flegal et al., 2016). Even so, it is estimated that if the current obesity trends continue, 50% of U.S. adults will be classified as obese (i.e., body mass index (BMI) values ≥30) by the year 2030. If that is true, researchers predict the following health implications (Wang et al., 2011): • 6 - 8.5 million more cases of diabetes • 5.7 - 7.3 million more cases of heart disease and stroke • 490,000 - 670,000 more cases of cancer Clearly, the economic burden resulting from these health implications would be substantial. The remedy seems to be in ensuring access to nutritious food and preventative healthcare, increasing physical activity, smoking cessation, stress and sleep management, and eating in a flexible manner that honors hunger, satiety, and appetite (Bacon et al., 2002; Bacon et al., 2005). What Causes Weight Gain? There are several theories as to what actually causes or leads to weight gain (Thygerson & Thygerson, 2016).