Obesity is a mounting health problem locally and worldwide. More than one billion adults globally are overweight and at least 300 million are obese, according to the World Health Organization.

Obesity not only takes a toll on personal health, it can inflict a huge monetary cost on individuals as well as the economy in general:

• When compared with their healthy-weight counterparts, healthcare spending among the obese is 37 percent higher, reports The Policy Journal of the Health Spheres.
• The rise in obesity contributed to the increase in spending related to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Fortunately, a sustained 10 percent weight loss may reduce an overweight person’s lifetime medical costs by $2,200 to $5,300 by lowering costs related to hypertension and high cholesterol, among many other related illnesses. Additionally, sustaining a five to 10 percent weight loss over six months or longer has been shown to improve health by helping to:
• Lower the risk of heart disease;
• Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes;
• Reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer; and
• Reduce the strain on joints.

So if weight loss is your resolution this year, or you want to make an important investment in your health, consider an approach that is not just designed to take weight off, but to help you change your behavior.

Just in time for the new year, Weight Watchers has introduced the Momentum program which encourages smarter food and lifestyle choices. Your weight loss plans can absolutely stay on track in 2009, but it’s important to choose a weight-loss plan that truly teaches you how to make healthy, sustainable changes.

Here are Weight Watchers Ten Tips for a Healthy 2009:
• Look for low-calorie substitutions that don’t sacrifice taste. For example, switching from mayo to mustard can add to big calorie savings over time.
• Losing weight with a friend or group of friends really helps with weight-loss success.
• Ounce for ounce, the nutrition in fruits and vegetables can’t be beat. To get the best blend of nutrients, include as many colors as possible.
• Put a napkin over your plate as soon as you’re satisfied — it’s like turning off a light switch.
• Purge unhealthy food from your pantry, freezer and fridge.
• Make physical activity as convenient as possible. Keep your sneakers and jacket ready and nearby for short, frequent walks.
• Try creating a new favorite dish. Visit www.weightwatchers.com for delicious recipe ideas.
• Wear something you feel fabulous in — a compliment goes a long way in sustaining motivation.
• Set new goals to keep yourself motivated. Goals do not have to be weight related.
• Know what you’re doing. Write down what you’re eating each and every day to keep you on target.

info: www.weightwatchers.com