Nearly 21% of overweight patients believe that their weight is normal, and up to 25% of physicians do not identify the weight problems of their patients, according to an article published in the June 2002 issue of the American Journal of Medicine. ?The importance of focusing on overweight patients is supported by research about the increased risk of developing several chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, and coronary heart disease, in adults who are overweight but not obese,? the article notes.
Moreover, as reported by the American Heart Association (AHA), the introduction of more than 5,000 low-fat and nonfat foods over the past 10 years has contributed to an epidemic of obesity. People think that they can eat all the reduced-fat cookies, frozen yogurt, and other treats they want. In reality, fat-free foods tend to have more sugar and can be even higher in calories than their full-fat counterparts. According to the AHA, the best solution is for people who are overweight to view fat-free and low-fat desserts in the same way as they view full-fat desserts?as an occasional treat.