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The Real Cost of Obesity

January 20, 2011

Inspiration to this blog comes from the McKinsey Quarterly which has the same title. The essence of the article is that the United States spends about $160 billion on obesity, but that sum is just a fraction of the total cost of obesity—estimated at $450 billion. The following chart is contained in the article.

Dr. Vincent Felitti’s original motivation for proposing the Adverse Childhood Experience Study was to study why patients who were successfully losing weight would just quit. Anecdotal evidence pointed to the lack of safety and security when you are slender and in shape. In some patients, remaining obese means remaining safe—from jealous husbands and boyfriends, from sexual predators and from a perception of lack of food availability and security. We are afraid of being slender and our brain kicks in to protect us by putting our weight back on.

What is a solution? Chugachmiut is proposing awareness of the impact of childhood trauma on body weight, and interventions to help resolve the trauma. Rewiring our way of thinking may lead us to a more comfortable relationship with our body, and a lower body weight will probably follow.

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