Pathological Eating Disorders and Poly-Behavioral Addiction

When considering that pathological eating disorders and their related diseases now afflict more people globally than malnutrition, some experts in the medical field are presently purporting that the world's number one health problem is no longer heart disease or cancer, but obesity. According to the World Health Organization (June, 2005), "obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight - at least 300 million of them clinically obese - and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Often coexisting in developing countries with under-nutrition, obesity is a complex condition, with serious social and psychological dimensions, affecting virtually all ages and socioeconomic groups."

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 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June, 2005), reports that "during the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older - over 60 million people - are obese. This increase is not limited to adults. The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. Among children and teens aged 6-19 years, 16 percent (over 9 million young people) are considered overweight."

Morbid obesity is a condition that is described as being 100lbs. or more above ideal weight, or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. Being obese alone puts one at a much greater risk of suffering from a combination of several other metabolic factors such as having high blood pressure, being insulin resistant, and/ or having abnormal cholesterol levels that are all related to a poor diet and a lack of exercise.

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 The sum is greater than the parts. Each metabolic problem is a risk for other diseases separately, but together they multiply the chances of life-threatening illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, etc. Up to 30.5% of our Nations' adults suffer from morbid obesity, and two thirds or 66% of adults are overweight measured by having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25. Considering that the U.S. population is now over 290,000,000, some estimate that up to 73,000,000 Americans could benefit from some type of education awareness and/ or treatment for a pathological eating disorder or food addiction. Typically, eating patterns are considered pathological problems when issues concerning weight and/ or eating habits, (e.g., overeating, under eating, binging, purging, and/ or obsessing over diets and calories, etc.) become the focus of a persons' life, causing them to feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment with related symptoms of depression and anxiety that cause significant maladaptive social and/ or occupational impairment in functioning.

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