The 392nd reason to lose weight

America has a weight problem, and it’s not too difficult to see why. We eat too many processed foods, drink too many high-calorie drinks, and spend way too much time sitting in front of a screen. If the increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and the litany of other health problems aren’t enough to make us lose weight, maybe we should start considering the impact these extra pounds have on our poor feet.

I have seen it estimated that for every pound of body weight, your foot has to absorb three pounds of force when you’re walking and seven pounds when running. That means a 200 pound person’s feet would be subject to 600 pounds of force with every step they take, and 1,400 pounds of force when they run.

Our feet were designed to withstand a certain amount of force, so packing on the pounds can cause all sorts of problems with your feet, ankles and knees. With every extra pound you carry, your risk increases for:

  • Osteoarthritis (Imagine your upper and lower leg bones bumping together.)
  • Stress Fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis (Persistent pain in the arches and heels.)
  • Arthritis
  • Flatfeet and fallen arches
  • Pronation (Rolling in of the ankle, which can cause bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, ankle sprains, and all sorts of lovely things.)
  • Heel spurs
  • Frequent ankle sprains
  • Shin splints
  • Knee, hip and lower back pain

Not to mention the fact that obesity increases your risk of type II diabetes, which leads to nerve disease that is the #1 reason why people have to have their feet, toes, legs, hands and arms amputated!

The extra weight just isn’t worth it.

Weight loss has become such a big business; experts predict that by 2014 we’ll be spending $586 billion to shed those extra pounds. But it’s not as difficult as we’ve made it. Here are some basic tips:

  1. Find out exactly how overweight you are. Click here to see where you and your kids fall on the obesity scale, so you’ll know what a healthy weight would be for your height. If your weight falls in the overweight or obese range, it’s time to get moving!
  2. Avoid processed food, junk food and fast food, which have more fake ingredients and sugar. A good rule of thumb is the more human hands or machines have touched it, the worse it is for you. Instead, choose foods that are the way nature gave them to us. Try to eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal, and chicken cutlets, fish, pork loins or steak (grilled or baked).
  3. Stick to the outer edges of the grocery store, where the fruits and veggies, meats and dairy are located. All the processed foods are in the aisles and will add pounds instead of taking them away.
  4. Get some exercise!  Turn the TV and video games off for an hour each night and take a walk with your kids. Ride a bike. Do some yard work. Take a walk at lunchtime. Any activity you get is going to help.

The Centers for Disease Control has some great information about living healthy.

It’s all just a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn.  Every smart choice you make is a step in the right direction. And your feet will thank you!