Obesity and Your Health

Obesity impacts all areas of your health—physically, mentally and emotionally. Even your social and professional development can be affected. Understanding the full scope of how obesity impacts your life can help you make important decisions regarding lifestyle changes.

Premature Death

It is estimated that nearly 300,000 deaths each year are the result of obesity or obesity-related conditions. In fact, adults between the ages of 30 and 64 who are obese have a 50 percent greater risk of premature death than those who maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, the more excess weight you carry, the greater your risk.

Gallstones

Obesity increases your risk of developing painful gallstones as well as an enlarged gallbladder that doesn’t function efficiently.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a condition that causes individuals to stop breathing during sleep. It interferes with rest and is associated with other health issues linked to sleep deprivation. Sleep Apnea occurs as a result of narrowed, or restricted, airways that can result from too much weight in the neck and chest areas.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis refers to a breakdown of cartilage—the cushion-like material that covers the ends of bones where they meet at the joint. When cartilage wears away, the bones rub together, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. These symptoms can become debilitating and require joint-replacement surgery.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a person with obesity is around 60 percent more likely to develop arthritis than someone of normal body weight. Excess weight adds pressure, stress and strain to the joints of the hips, knees, spine and feet. For example, health experts estimate that for every 10 pounds of excess body weight, the force of impact on the hips and knees increases 30 to 60 pounds with each step.

 Type 2 Diabetes

According to research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, obesity is the greatest risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, which is a chronic condition requiring significant medical intervention, typically multiple insulin shots daily. It often leads to serious and even debilitating issues such as blindness and amputations, and impacts the heart and kidneys. According to the National Institutes of Health, Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of early death in the U.S.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of risk factors that places individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The risk factors are highly-correlated with obesity, and include:

  • An apple shape. Fat around the waistline is a prime indicator for coronary heart disease.
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • High triglycerides
  • Low HDL cholesterol

Coronary Heart Disease

Obesity is also highly-correlated with coronary heart disease, which can ultimately lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Increased Cancer Risks

Certain types of cancer, including endometrial, colon, gallbladder, kidney, prostate and postmenopausal breast cancer are more common among people who are obese. Women who gain as few as 20 pounds between the ages of 18 and midlife, for instance, effectively double their risks of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.

Obesity is the prime suspect in a number of serious health conditions that can be debilitating, and even increase the risk of early death. Losing weight through diet, exercise, and bariatric surgery can often minimize or eliminate risk factors, and lead to a fuller, healthier and longer life.