The risks of being overweight……..you know these right? Unless you truly have been living under a rock, you have been inundated with information about the health implications of being overweight or obese. But there really is a overabundance of information and at times it can be overload. It is easy to just tune it out and move along with life and cake. Who doesn’t want cake?
However, there really are some important facts that everyone should know. Shedding excess weight has profound, immediate positive effects on your health. So, why shed the pounds? Here are the top risks associated with being overweight:
- Heart Disease & Stroke – Hypertension and very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) can lead to heart disease and often are linked to being overweight. Being overweight also contributes to angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.
- Diabetes –
Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness.
- Cancer –
Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk for developing cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. For some types of cancer, such as colon or breast, it is not clear whether the increased risk is due to the extra weight or consumption of a high-fat and high-calorie diet.
- Sleep Apnea –
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is closely associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep and to snore heavily. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and even heart failure. The risk for sleep apnea increases with higher body weights. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
- Osteoarthritis –
Extra weight appears to increase the risk of osteoarthritis by placing extra pressure on weight-bearing joints and wearing away the cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that normally protects them. Weight loss can decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Gallbladder Disease –
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight. Your risk of disease increases as your weight increases. It is not clear how being overweight may cause gallbladder disease. Weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can actually increase your chances of developing gallstones. Modest, slow weight loss of about one pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
- Fatty Liver Disease –
Fatty liver disease occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells and damages the liver. It can lead to liver failure. Fatty liver disease is linked to higher than normal blood glucose levels, which are more common in people who are overweight. Weight loss can help with blood glucose control and reduce the build-up of fat in the liver. Also, people who have fatty liver disease should avoid alcohol. **Insel, Paul, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein. Nutrition: Custom Edition, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 04/2010. VitalBook file.
This list should convince you to that weight loss and weight management are important. That said, beginning to make changes is the tough part. If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, seeing a Weight Management Specialist, a Nutritionist/Dietitian, or Behavior Change Coach may help.
The most important factor though, is to find your”Why”. Why do you want to be healthier?
To live a longer life?
To play with your kids?
To see your kids grow and have families of their own?
To walk up the steps without getting winded?
To feel great in your clothes?
To wear a swim suit with confidence on your dream vacation?
Whatever your “why”………embrace it, put it on Post-Its, write it on your vision board, put it in your journal…….make it part of who you are. If you embrace your why and keep it in your focus, it makes the beginning and staying on the journey so much easier.