|David Heber, M.D., Ph.D.,
is Director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and Chief of the Division
of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine at the University of
California, Los Angeles. He also directs the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) Clinical Nutrition and Obesity Training Program at UCLA. An expert
in obesity issues, Dr. Heber was a lead investigator in clinical trials
of Meridia© and has worked on a number of other pivotal research trials
which evaluated the role of nutrition in cancer prevention.
Women and Obesity
Nutrition is a topic that is always of great interest to women, but most women
are taken by surprise when I tell that I believe obesity is the #1 nutritional
problem in the United States.
I have devoted my entire professional career - more than
25 years - to studying and reaching out to people who are battling the devastating
impact of obesity and, unfortunately, more people today than ever before are
overweight or obese. The statistics are not new, but overwhelming nonetheless:
- 1 out of every 2 Americans are overweight
- 1 out of 3 Americans are obese
- 1 out of 2 people who walk into their doctors' offices are obese
- In the next 10 years, 70 to 80 percent of all heart disease deaths will
occur in people with Type II diabetes, a condition I call diabesity since
Type II diabetes is so frequently associated with obesity
For women, the statistics are equally alarming. The prevalence
of obesity among women has increased by almost 15 percent in the last decade.
Nearly 50 percent of all Hispanic American and African American women are overweight.
The link between diabetes and obesity is particularly pronounced in women, and
during the past 10 years there has been a 32 percent increase in women with
Clearly, a change is needed in how the public - and how doctors
- view and deal with obesity. Doctors need to tell their patients that it is
important for them to achieve and maintain healthy body weight for their health.
Patients need to talk to their doctors about their desire to gain control over
this frustrating disease and about anti-obesity drugs that are safe and effective.
Women today burn the candle at both ends, whether they are out in the workforce
or working full-time in the home. After children arrive, it can be exceedingly
difficult to take control and lose the extra pounds that result from a healthy
pregnancy. Then the rush of daily life can make healthy eating a difficult
task. Aging, too, presents its weight control issues and weight gain later
in life can have serious implications. Obese women and women who gained at
lest 24 pounds in adulthood are at greater risk for stroke than thin women or
those who stayed lean as adults, and women who put on weight early in life run
a higher risk of developing breast cancer as they age. Almost half of all breast
cancers are diagnosed among obese women.
I want to strongly encourage you to take control of your weight and your health.
Do it something for yourself and do it today. Talk to your doctor and get started
on a path to a healthier you.
For more information on weight control, click here.
Created: 11/30/2000  - David Heber, M.D., Ph.D.