Abstract

Weight control has become one of the most important public health initiatives in the United States, with increasing recognition that obesity is rapidly becoming the number one cause of preventable death. Consumer trends indicate some degree of disenchantment with ineffective weight loss supplements and apparent failure of some diets. The dietary supplement industry has experienced increasing regulation by the FTC and the FDA concerning “weight loss claims”, but there is no safe or consistently effective pharmaceutical or surgical intervention that has resulted in any major impact not he nation’s obesity problem. Modern concepts of obesity management involve a multi-pronged approach for the management of the complexities that cause and reveal themselves in overweight individuals. The recognition that there is no diet described in the history of medicine that has resulted in sustained weight control has led scientists to reappraise weight management strategies. Effective weight control can only occur with the combination of behavior modification, exercise, and calorie controlled diets. The major initiative of any weight control program must be based on the attainment of general health. More emphasis has been placed on calorie control in the American diet and this issue is reflected in modifications of the obsolete USDA, Food Pyramid Guide in 2005. Weight control for the nation must be not perceived as a mere cosmetic issue as the widespread occurrence of the metabolic Syndrome X challenges the health of the nation. It is obesity related illness that causes much premature death and disability and Syndrome X affects up to 70 million Americans without widespread recognition by physicians or the afflicted. The variable combination of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol, linked by underlying insulin resistance, is the forerunner to the modern epidemic of Type II diabetes mellitus and it is associated with several common diseases including, but not limited to: cardiovascular disease, decline in brain function, stroke, inflammatory disease, female endocrine disorders (PCOS), liver disease, compromise of sexual function, and cancer. There is no techno fix for obesity, pre-diabetes, or the metabolic Syndrome X, and government agencies have stressed the need for an integrative medical approach where first-line options including positive lifestyle change, and natural interventions with dietary supplements, are able to be applied in a rational manner. Weight management and the reversal of Syndrome X represent key issues that comprise the future of the dietary supplement industry, where lifestyle medicine and nutrition can achieve more than any other intervention.

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