know the consequences of being overweight

 Health Consequences of being Overweight.

Overweight and Obesity is a major cause of death in our society today. The good news is that we can prevent being obesed and its deleterious effect.

It is important that early signs of overweight are identified and possible actions taken to avert it. This include constant checking of the Body Mass Index(BMI).

The latest WHO projections indicate that at least one in three of the world’s adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. Additionally there are over 40 million children under age five who are overweight.

Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on health. Carrying extra fat leads to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon). These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.

Cardiovascular Diseases and Obesity:

Obesity is a risk factor to several cardiovascular diseases. If you are overweight you may develop hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  These conditions will put you at high risk of cardiovascular disease. 

It is very simple to find out if you are overweight. You can tell if you are obese by the size of your waist, the ratio of your waist to your hips, and the relationship between your height and your weight.  The relationship between your height and your weight is called the body mass index (BMI).  It is not a perfect way of checking your cardiovascular risk but as your BMI increases, so does your risk of heart disease and stroke. There for it is important to constantly check your BMI to rule out risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.


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On a general note, if your BMI is greater than 25 you are considered overweight. This is slightly different from South Asian race. If you are of south Asian origin you may be considered overweight if your BMI is greater than 22.  If you are a woman, a BMI greater than 21 may adversely affect your heart’s health.  If your BMI is more than 30, you are obese and at serious risk of cardiovascular disease. If your BMI is below 18.5 your are probably underweight.

Your waist measurement can also tell you if you are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Increased risk High risk
Men – not Asian 94-101 cm >= 102 cm
Men – Asian >=  90 cm
Women – not Asian 80-87 cm >=  88 cm
Women – Asian >=  80 cm 

Pathophysiological mechanism of Cardiovascular diseases and Obesity:

Previously it was thought that fat was inert.  Now scientists understand that fat, especially intra-abdominal fat, has significant impact on our metabolism. 

You have intra-abdominal fat if you have a big belly.  This fat affects your blood pressure; your blood lipid levels and interferes with your ability to use insulin effectively.  You use insulin to process glucose derived from food, our body’s primary fuel. If you cannot use insulin properly you may develop diabetes, a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

As you get fatter, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension rises steeply. Statistics show that 58% of diabetes and 21% of ischemic heart disease are attributable to a BMI above 21.What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight. Many of these conditions cause long-term suffering for individuals and families. In addition, the costs for the health care system can be extremely high.

The good news is that overweight and obesity are largely preventable. The key to success is to achieve an energy balance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories used on the other hand.

To reach this goal, people can limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and limit their intake of sugars. And to increase calories used, people can boost their levels of physical activity – to at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days.

Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Melitus.

According to the Center for Disease Control, we are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) says that, “Diabetes and obesity are the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century.” The supporting statistics they cite are staggering:
As of 1999, diabetes affected 16 million (six percent) of Americans – an increase of 40 percent in just ten years.

  • During the same period, the obesity rate climbed from 12 percent to almost 20 percent.
  • Last year the diabetes and obesity rates increased 6 percent and 57 percent.
  • Every three seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Of the children born in 2000, one in three will eventually develop diabetes.

Although both diabetes and obesity risk factors are often associated with race, age, and family history, it’s becoming more and more clear that the conveniences of modern life also contribute to the development of both diseases. For example, sedentary lifestyles (reduced physical activity) and the popularity of high fat, high energy diets

(think “Super Size Me”) and convenient foods are known to lead to obesity – but do they also cause diabetes?

Is There a Link Between Obesity and Diabetes?

Of the people diagnosed with type II diabetes, about 80 to 90 percent are also diagnosed as obese. This fact provides an interesting clue to the link between diabetes and obesity. Understanding what causes the disease will hopefully allow us to prevent diabetes in the future.

Being overweight places extra stress on your body in a variety of ways, including your body’s ability to maintain proper blood glucose levels. In fact, being overweight can cause your body to become resistant to insulin. If you already have diabetes, this means you will need to take even more insulin to get sugar into your cells. And if you don’t have diabetes, the prolonged effects of the insulin resistance can eventually cause you to develop the disease.

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