Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. It’s a greater health problem than just carrying a few extra pounds and is linked to a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and osteoarthritis.
About a third of adults in the U.S. are obese. While it’s true that eating more calories than you use is what causes weight gain, sometimes people who exercise regularly and eat reasonable amounts still become very heavy.
Genetics is a factor in determining whether someone will struggle to maintain a healthy weight, as is gender. Men tend to have more muscle than women, and because muscle burns more calories even at rest than other types of tissue, men are less likely to gain weight. Plus, women tend to retain four to six extra pounds after each pregnancy. Loss of muscle mass and slowing of the metabolism is part of the aging process and contributes to weight gain in both women and men.
Other factors that contribute to an individual’s likelihood of becoming obese include environmental factors – habits picked up from the people around you – and emotions. Many people overeat out of boredom or depression.2 Combined with a sedentary lifestyle, this can add up to excess weight that is difficult to shed.
The psychological effects of obesity can be devastating, leading to feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Other complications include:
Type 2 diabetes
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Congestive heart failure
Cancer of the kidney, endometrium, breast, colon and rectum, esophagus, prostate and gall bladder
Stress urinary incontinence
Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
Liver and gallbladder disease
Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and the underlying bone within a joint)
While doctors recommend a goal of losing 10 percent of your total body weight if you are obese, even smaller amounts of weight loss can be beneficial.
- Losing two pounds drops low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 1 percent.
- Losing 10 to 15 pounds can slow the development and halt the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
- Losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
- Losing 5 to 15 percent of your body weight can lower your chances of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
The road to good health is yours to travel. But you don't have to do it alone. Whether you're managing a health condition or making changes in your life like quitting bad habits or getting in shape - we can help. Check out our new classes and resources below. Contac us to set personalized health and wellness goals and learn about the programs available to you.
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