There are many health risks associated with obesity. Even though research about health and nutrition is constantly evolving, there seems to be general agreement about the positive correlation between obesity and certain health conditions. The state of being considerably overweight puts one at risk to a variety of health problems. Folks who are obese are more likely than people who are not overweight to develop diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, colon cancer, gallbladder stones, liver problems, sleep apnea, and many others. Of course, there are factors other than weight, such as genetics and other environmental factors, that impact a person’s likelihood to develop specific health conditions.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly used to determine if an individual’s weight falls within a healthy range or if it falls into the category of obesity. BMI is calculated as a ratio between height and weight. The exact formula requires dividing your actual weight in kilograms by the squared value of your height in meters. Individuals with a BMI that falls between 25 and 29.99 are considered overweight, with the obesity category beginning when BMI reaches 30. The higher the number, the greater the level of obesity. It is believed that individuals whose BMI falls within the normal range are less at risk for many disease conditions than those who have a higher BMI.
Recent research has indicated that individuals with abdominal obesity, characterized by excess weight around the abdominal area, are at particularly high risk for insulin resistance syndrome. While much liver disease is associated with excessive alcohol consumption, the insulin resistance that can be triggered by abdominal obesity is also thought to be a contributing factor of liver disease.
Additional health issues associated with abdominal obesity include hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and cardiovascular disease. It is possible for individuals whose BMI falls within a normal range to still have abdominal obesity, depending on their body shape. Women whose waist measures 35 inches or greater are considered to have abdominal obesity. For men, the measure of abdominal obesity is a waist measurement of 40 or larger.
Carrying excess body fat is a contributing factor to the development of atherosclerosis. This dangerous condition results in the narrowing of the arteries. Arteries that are narrowed as a result of atherosclerosis increase the possibility of the occurrence of blood clots that can cause strokes. Excessive body fat also frequently leads to high blood pressure.
People who experience rapid weight gain are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Even though there is a very strong genetic pre-disposition to diabetes, those who experience a rapid weight gain have double the risk of developing this condition than those who have not experienced such a shift in body weight.
There are many serious health-related issues associated with obesity. While many people look at weight loss as strictly or primarily a cosmetic issue, the health concerns associated with this condition are of even greater significance. There are serious health risks associated with obesity, and one of the best things anyone can do to ensure proper long term health is to eliminate excess weight.