How Obesity Influences Health
We often think of being overweight as a cosmetic issue. When we talk about weight loss, the focus is often on fitting into a certain style of clothing or looking “good” for an upcoming event. However, weight loss is about much more than liking the way you look.
Obesity is a chronic disease that increases your risk of developing serious health complications. Losing weight can reduce your risk of health concerns, and help you develop a healthier lifestyle.
The Risk of Obesity
Obesity is measured through a scale called the body mass index or BMI. This is a ratio of height to weight that helps define what a healthy weight range is and thereby provides a bit of context to the number that appears on the scale. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. If your BMI is over 30, you may be considered obese.
The higher your BMI is, the greater your risk becomes for developing health complications. Obesity is associated with a heightened risk of a long list of chronic diseases. These conditions are often referred to as obesity-related diseases.
Obesity increases your risk for conditions such as:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Heart disease or heart attack
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Hyperlipidemia, including poor cholesterol levels and high triglycerides
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sleep apnea
Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of some forms of cancer, including prostate, colon and breast cancer.
Mental Health and Obesity
In addition to the above listed physical health conditions, obesity increases your risk of developing mental health illness. Being overweight or obese often comes with a social stigma, and this can lead to decreased self-esteem, lower confidence and mood changes. For these reasons, obesity will put you at a heightened risk for depression, a mood disorder marked by chronic feelings of helplessness, despair and unhappiness. Those who are overweight or obese are also more susceptible to severe anxiety, eating disorders and PTSD.
Losing weight will reduce your risk for developing obesity related diseases, and in some cases can even reverse the onset of certain illnesses. You don’t need to reach your ultimate weight loss goal to start experiencing health benefits. Losing even a moderate amount of weight can result in a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, and noticeable improvements in your overall health.