Obesity is becoming an epidemic in the United States. Current research at John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health indicates that more than two thirds of adults and one third of children and adolescents in the US are overweight or obese. If something is not done now to change this pattern, then the prediction was that by 2015, three quarters of adults would be obese and then by 2030 it may be even greater than 85%. If the trend continues, obesity may become the number one “preventible” cause of death in this country. But how is this possible when so many of us are obsessed with diet and weight and external appearances?

Ask any overweight woman you meet (and many men as well), and they can probably tell you tales of suffering from their latest diet plan that worked for awhile. But they will also lament that the weight loss just did not last. Very soon after they stopped following that rigid weight loss program, the weight began to creep back on. Research reminds us that this yo-yo dieting does not work. Neither does starving ourselves.

Many of us have even changed our diets, added more portions of green vegetables and lots of salads. We have cut down on desserts, added low fat and low sugar items, eliminated delicious snacks and we may even get to the gym at least a few days per week. But often, even all that is not enough. What is wrong?

Recent research tells us that it may not just be the amount of food we are eating but the micronutrients that may be missing from our current food. It is possible that we are missing some very important nutrients, some major and some minor, but important for our health and for keeping our metabolism at an optimum rate of functioning.

Statistics from the USDA website reveal that for Americans over the age of two, 9 out of 10 are deficient in potassium, 8 out of 10 are deficient in Vitamin E, and about 7 out of 10 are deficient in vitamin A. And that's not all . Some of the most common weight loss diets, eg, The South Beach Diet and the Dash Diet, were evaluated and found to be lacking in the following nutrients: vitamin B5, B7, D and E as well as choline, chromium, copper, iron , iodine, potassium, magnesium, sodium and zinc.

To make matters worse, these micronutrient deficiencies tend to increase the potential risk of developing many different health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, various skin conditions, and many types of cancer. Are we a doomed society or is there something we can do about this growing nutritional deficiency?

On the positive side, there are many companies and many health oriented individuals and groups offering alternatives. There are the raw food advocates, the health food movements, and a wide variety of healing and beneficial nutritionals. One such product is Chaga, a healing mushroom extract that can boost the immune system and help to restore proper metabolism. But what is really required is a new health oriented mind-set, taking personal responsibility for educating oneself, learning what good nutrition really involves, and then implementing a healthy nutritional regimen.

Nothing is more important than our health. Without health, we can not enjoy even the most simple pleasures of life. Are you doing what you can do, right now, to keep your diet and nutrition at an optimal level?