The obesity epidemic is on everyone’s mind lately, as it should, given that the number of people battling the bulge has doubled in the last 30 years. Unfortunately, most of us are more concerned with how those extra pounds make us look instead of what those extra pounds are doing to the health of our bodies. In fact, scientists are consistently discovering new facts linking obesity to many different health problems.Generally speaking, men whose waist circumference exceeds 40 inches, and women whose waist circumference exceeds 36 inches are at increased risk of getting these diseases:
Heart Disease and Stroke
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a symptom of developing heart disease, and is a risk factor for having a stroke. One-third to one-half of all individuals with high blood pressure are overweight. Your Blood pressure rises as you gain weight, and usually begins to drop as you start losing weight. Once you reach the ideal weight for you height, your blood pressure usually stabilizes at a normal range..
Breast, Endometrial, Gallbladder and Colon Cancer
Post menopausal women who are obese have a 50% higher risk of getting breast cancer, and obese men have a 40% higher risk of colon cancer. Men and women have five times the risk of getting endometrial or gallbladder cancer if they are obese. Most recent research is beginning to indicate a higher risk of kidney, pancreas, rectum, esophagus, and liver cancer also.
Type 2 Diabetes
Although the exact mechanism behind it is not yet known, it is known that over 80% of patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Reduce your risk of this chronic illness, which can cause blindness, amputation, kidney and nerve disease, by walking at least 30 minutes everyday. Daily exercise has been proven to decrease the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
The most common form of joint disease in the United States (with over 21 million people suffering), osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability in people over 55. Obesity is one of the top ten causes of osteoarthritis, and makes healing more difficult should joint replacement surgery be required.
Sleep Apnea and Respiratory Problems
Sleep apnea (also known as obstructive sleep apnea) is a diagnosis that within the last 10 years has been link to obesity or being overweight. In the past, many patients who snored loudly and stopped breathing during the night were simply considered to have nasal irregularities. It has been shown that many of these actually have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea and are therefore at a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, insomnia and mood disorders. They also usually have high blood pressure. Most people diagnosed with sleep apnea are overweight, and in many cases, losing weight reverses the condition.
Unfortunately, knowing about the risks of being overweight may give impetus to the decision to lose weight, but it does not make losing weight any easier. There is good news though; research shows that losing just 10% of your body weight reduces the risk of these diseases significantly. So whether you are 20 pounds overweight or 100 pounds, losing just 10% of your total body weight is enough to decrease the risk of these top five diseases. Keep that 10% goal in mind for whenever you begin to feel discouraged about how slowly the pounds are coming off. In the end, it is not what you look like that counts, it is how healthy you are, and it only takes a 10% weight loss to significantly increase the odds your future will be a healthier one.