How Being Overweight or Obese Can Affect Your Body and Health

by Danny Fernsby
obese man checked by doctor

Keeping fit and in shape is not easy. Around the world, there are millions of people who struggle to maintain a healthy weight and are battling diseases caused by packing excess fats in their bodies.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity rates have tripled in the last 40 years, and there are around 700 million adults who are obese today. Furthermore, among adults aged 18 years and older, around 2 billion falls in the overweight category, and among younger people aged 5 years to 19 years, around 350 million are classified as overweight or obese.

Overweight and Obesity Defined

Overweight and obesity are conditions characterized by having excessive amounts of fat deposits in the body, resulting in health problems and complications.

To know if you are overweight or obese, you have to determine what your body mass index or BMI is. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. So, for example, if you weigh 80 kilograms and are 1.60 meters tall, you can get your BMI using the equation below:

Your BMI = 80 kilograms / (1.60 meters)^2 = 31.25 kilograms per meter squared

Based on the data below, your BMI of 31.25 puts you in the obese class I category.

  •     ♦  Your BMI is less than 18.5 = You are underweight
  •     ♦  Your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 = You are normal weight
  •     ♦  Your BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9 = You are overweight
  •     ♦  Your BMI is between 30.0 and 34.9 = You are obese class I
  •     ♦  Your BMI is between 35.0 and 39.9 = You are obese class II
  •     ♦  Your BMI is 0 or higher = You belong to the extreme obesity class III

BMI can only give a reasonable estimate of your body fat, so do not solely rely on it for all of your body fat data needs. You should go see a doctor to help you find a method that can provide more accurate and precise body fat measurements and other information for weight and health monitoring.

Common causes of weight problems

There are a variety of factors that can lead to overweight and obesity. Below are some examples:

Sedentary lifestyle

sedentary lifestyle and junk foodsA lack of exercise increases your risk of weight issues and obesity. If you spend the majority of your time sitting or barely moving, you are not able to burn excess calories, which can lead to weight gain.

Poor diet

Foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and fats are usually high in calories, so eating them often will make you gain weight. For the good of your health and wellbeing, eliminate or at least cut down your consumption of fast food, soft drinks, processed foods, and junk foods.

Excessive alcohol intake

Alcohol contains lots of calories, so regular drinking will give you more calories than your body needs. In addition to that, it can endanger your heart, kidneys, liver, brain, and other vital organs, increasing your risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver cancer, impaired brain function, and other health problems.

Mental health issues

Dealing with constant stress, depression, anxiety, and other health concerns can negatively impact not only your mood but also your appetite, making you eat more and increasing your cravings for unhealthy foods.

Complications associated with overweight and obesity

People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of certain severe and even life-threatening medical complications, including:

High blood pressure

This is a condition in which the force of the blood that pushes against your artery walls increases to higher than normal levels, triggering symptoms like severe headaches, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, pounding in the neck or ears, fatigue, and breathing difficulties.

High cholesterol

This is a condition in which fatty deposits form in your blood vessels, restricting blood circulation and blood flow in your body. If you have it, your odds of getting a heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications increase.

Type 2 diabetes

This is a type of chronic condition in which your body’s ability to metabolize sugar is impaired, causing symptoms like increased hunger, fatigue, sudden weight loss, blurred vision, frequent urination and thirst, and slow-healing wounds, and raising your chances of developing stroke, heart disease, eye damage, kidney damage, sleep apnea, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Preventing weight gain and obesity

The best way to protect against the dangers of overweight and obesity is to live a healthy lifestyle. If you are used to a sedentary way of living and eating and drinking whatever you want, you should start making healthy choices now to avoid the risks. Below are some healthy lifestyle choices that you should do:

Healthy and balanced diet

Eating foods that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals is essential in weight management. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and foods that are rich in good proteins, fiber, and carbohydrate into your daily meals, and get rid of all the junk.

overweight man on treadmillRegular physical activity

Health experts recommend that everyone should strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least three times a week to lower the risk of obesity and other health problems. You can try brisk walking, swimming, running, or biking.

Weight loss

There are many ways to lose weight, but not all of them are safe and healthy. To not put yourself in danger, you should avoid getting into those diet and weight loss fads that claim to help you lose 10 pounds in a week. Instead, you should learn to control the amount of food that you eat by calorie counting. Consume foods that are high in fiber and essential nutrients and low in calories to get your desired results.

Good habits

It is difficult to quit smoking, alcohol drinking, drug addiction, and other bad habits, but you have to strive hard to detach yourself from them if you want to enjoy a long and healthy life. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor or seek a counselor or therapist.

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