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Weight Loss - Common Health Risks From Obesity


Beaware Of Some Common Health Risks

Nutrition is a field where new information is constantly coming out and in many cases, the results of a study published today may be at odds with those of a study published only last week! It can be hard to figure out what you should and shouldn't be eating. There is one thing which everyone seems to agree on though and this is that being overweight comes with some serious health risks.

If you are more than a few pounds overweight, you run a higher risk of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain forms of cancer and other diseases besides.

So what constitutes being significantly overweight, anyway?

There is no single ideal weight and this varies from individual to individual. However, there are some measurements which can determine a general range which is considered to be healthy. One such measurement is body mass index, or BMI. You can find the healthy BMI range for yourself by dividing your weight (measured in kg) by your height (in meters) squared. You can get a general idea from the table below:

Under 18.5 = Underweight
Between 18.5 and 24.99 = Normal Weight
Between 25 and 29.99 = Overweight
Between 30 and 34.99 = Obese (Class 1)
Between 35 and 39.99 = Obese (Class 2)
40 and above = Extreme Obesity

If you fall near the lower end of the BMI, you run only a very slightly increased risk of health problems. Genetics and your environment will matter more than your weight or body fat percentage, to be totally honest. On the other hand, those at the high end of the scale are at a much higher risk of a whole host of health problems.

Being what is called abdominally obese (this is self explanatory) correlates with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist of 35" or more (in women) and 40" or more in men. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also often associated with abdominal obesity.

Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries due to cholesterol deposits) can lead to high blood pressure and strokes. An excess of body fat is a contributing factor to the development of this condition.

A rapid gain of 10-20 pounds (in a person of roughly average weight) increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While genetics are the most important factor at work here, weight gain is a significant factor as well. With all else remaining constant, weight gain can as much as double the risk of diabetes.

Liver disease can be caused by insulin resistance, which is far more common in the obese. BMI and liver damage have been linked in the results of many clinical studies. It seems that a higher BMI means a more serious risk of liver disease.

The obese are also more prone to developing gallstones, which also seem to be correlated to rapid weight gain and/or increase in BMI. Then there is sleep apnea, also a common problem for the obese.

While no one study has all of the answers and environmental factors and genetics are also important, excessive weight and body fat certainly place you at a much higher risk for a wide variety of health problems.