How common is obesity?
- Over one-third of American adults are obese.
- It is estimated that 17% of children aged 2 through 18 are also obese.
Why is obesity a problem?
Weight gain will increase your risk of developing several medical conditions.
What defines obesity?
- The World health Organization defines obesity as a body mass index greater than 30.
- Body mass index is calculated by both height and weight.
- Would you like to know your Body Mass Index?
- Overweight is defined as body mass index greater than 25.
Obesity increases the risk of,
- Plaque builds up inside blood vessels to the heart.
- These plaque deposits will decrease blood and oxygen’s ability to reach the heart muscle.
- Pain in the chest can occur, this is referred to as angina.
- A heart attack can occur.
- Heart failure can occur when the heart muscle is no longer able to keep up with the bodies demands.
- Plaque can build up in the vessels that supply the brain, as the blockages increase so does the risk of a stroke.
- The risk of high blood pressure increases when you are overweight.
- Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood.
- If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body.
- The kidneys can be damaged leading to kidney failure.
Type 2 diabetes
- The risk of diabetes increases with weight gain.
- The pancreas produces insulin.
- The body is unable to use insulin effectively, leading to an increase of blood sugar.
- As we gain weight, the body is unable to use insulin effectively, this will lead to an increase of blood sugar.
- Weight gain increases triglyceride levels and LDL.
- These elevated levels will increase your risk of heart disease.
Weight gain increases risk of certain cancers
- “Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.” Reference NIH
Weight Gain increases your risk of sleep apnea
- Sleep apnea is a condition where there are pauses in breathing while you are sleeping.
- Weight gain can increase your risk of sleep apnea as the soft tissues in your neck are more likely to relax and cause obstruction when you are sleeping.
Obesity increases risk of infertility and miscarriage
- “Obesity has significant consequences for the reproductive system, depending upon the amount and distribution of body fat.
- Epidemiological evidence clearly shows that being overweight contributes to menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriage, poor pregnancy outcome, impaired fetal well-being and diabetes mellitus.
- Central adiposity is particularly important in clinical sequelae associated with an increased body mass index.
- The advent of assisted reproduction highlights the problems of being overweight, and the use of gonadotrophins in ovulation induction and in vitro fertilization is more difficult when the subject is overweight.
- Weight loss has marked effects on improving the menstrual cycle and promoting spontaneous ovulation and fertility.
- Results indicate that fertility is improved through exercise and sensible eating patterns when conducted in a group environment.
- The mechanisms for this are unclear but may be associated with changes in sensitivity to insulin.”
- Reference Norman RJ1, Clark AM. Fertil Dev. 1998;10(1):55-63.
- Weight gain increases the risk of osteoarthritis.
- The extra weight strains your joints and leads to increased wear and tear.
- Try walking around with 10, 30 or 50 pounds bag of sand.
- You will tire rather quickly.
- Now picture carrying this extra weight around day after day.
- More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.
- According to The World health Organization, worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980.
- According to the CIA, the obesity rate is highest in American Samoa, which is a US territory. It is estimated that 74% of the people there are obese.
- Vietnam has the lowest rates of obesity, just .5% of the people are obese.
What can we do to decrease obesity
- Eat healthier diets with less sugar along with more fruits and vegetables.
- You can choose healthier foods rather than high sugar processed foods.
- Food manufacturers can limit the amount of sugar in the foods that they sell.
- Employers and schools could offer healthy snacks in the vending machines and or cafeteria to limit the intake of processed foods.
- Be aware that you are turning to food for comfort rather than hunger.
- Seeking counseling if needed.
Should you count calories?
- According to the World health organization,
“For an individual, obesity is usually the result of an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended”
What about exercise
- Exercise each day.
- Limit the time you sit.
- If you work in a job that requires a lot of sitting then make sure you get up frequently.
- Just stand or go for a walk if you can
- Try to change the work environment.
- Can you place the computer up on a box for a little while and stand as you work?
- Can you do some leg exercises under the desk and exercise your core muscles by tightening them and counting to 10?
- The answer to most of these questions is a yes, it is just a matter of doing them.
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What are the ways you try to keep weight off?