Health Effects of Being Overweight: The Dangerous Truths

Published: 05th March 2009
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Weight and health are strongly related to each other. The risk of disease goes up as weight gain pushes you out of the healthy weight range and into the overweight, obese range. Till date, obesity has been linked with more than thirty medical conditions. Not just large weight gains carry ill health effects, even 10 or 20 extra pounds increases the risk of disease and death. The health effects of being overweight are dangerous and hazardous to life.

Overweight and High Blood Pressure
Approximately 40 to 70 % of humans suffering from high blood pressure are due to the side effects of being overweight. Social groups where people do not gain much weight, as they get older, do not experience this increase in high blood pressure. The first thing a physician tells an overweight or obese patient who has high blood pressure is to lose fat. Mostly this is enough to get his or her blood pressure under control even without any medication for blood pressure.

Being Overweight increases the risk of Heart Disease
The side effects of being overweight on your heart is very dangerous and if your BMI is in the obese range, your heart disease risk quadruples. Fifty percentage of all human deaths results from heart disease and it is the major killer of both men and women. Being excess weight or obese are firmly linked with heart disease risk factors. Overweight, obesity and abdominal fat increase the risk of diabetes, which is a heart disease risk factor. If your BMI is in the overweight range, your heart disease risk doubles compared to people with BMIs in the healthy weight range.

Being Overweight negatively affects Blood Cholesterol
One of the side effects of being overweight is that it unfavorably affects cholesterol levels in the body, as well as some of the constituents of cholesterol. Body cholesterol level is made up of different types of cholesterol: important ones being LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) that is a bad cholesterol, and HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) that is a good cholesterol. LDL contributes to heart disease risk and HDL helps protect the heart. Hence, for heart health, the target is to reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Increase in weight invites problems by increasing LDL levels and reducing HDL levels.

Diabetes and Excess Body Weight
The strongest of the side effects of being overweight is found with diabetes. Weight gain significantly increases diabetes risk. The risk increases about 25% for every unit increase in BMI over 22. One study estimated that more than one-quarter of new cases of diabetes could be assigned to a weight gain of 11 pounds or more. If we eradicate adult weight gain and obesity, we could eliminate over 80% of all diabetes. It is not unexpected that one of the first treatment recommendations for diabetes is weight loss.

Weight Gain and Cancer
Latest studies from the National Cancer Institute and other research institutions suggest that over 20% of all cancer is associated to overweight or obesity. For so many years, researchers have been telling that certain forms of cancer with a link to hormones are due to side effects of being overweight. A government report on overweight and obesity has summarized that obesity increases the risk of breast cancer after menopause because body fat produces the hormone estrogen.

Weight Loss Makes You Healthy
The side effects of being overweight is very hazardous to your health and it is unambiguous that gaining even a little bit of weight is not good for a person's health. Conversely, it takes only a small weight loss, as little as 5%, to gain great health benefits. For a person who weighs 200 pounds, that is just 10 pounds! Weight loss is vital in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Here is a summary of just a few of the benefits of losing a modest amount of weight, around 5% to 10% of initial body weight:

  • Reduce risk of breast cancer, in particular, if the weight is lost before age 45.

  • Decreases blood pressure and reduces risk of heart disease.

  • Increases HDL cholesterol incrementally.

  • Reduce incidence of diabetes by 58%.

The best thing in your life you could do for you is to achieve and maintain a weight that is in the healthy weight range. Once your weight creeps into the overweight or obese range, the myth that a "small weight gain is nothing to worry about" can be very hazardous to your health and life.
The effective way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. More techniques for determining body fat percentage.

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