Obesity is an unhealthy, expensive, growing problem

I am not going to beat around the bush or candy coat this today. I am going to shoot fast and shoot straight: Being overweight is unhealthy, it’s expensive and it’s a rapidly growing problem right here in our own state.

A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that more than 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. As the figures rise, so do the associated health problems and accompanying medical costs, estimated to be at nearly $150 billion plus annually in the United State. With an alarming number of American children currently being obese, it’s not going to stop anytime soon, unless we take a stand and make weight loss and fitness a priority in our lives.

Let’s discuss the specific dangers that exist for people who are living large.

Being overweight causes heart disease.  The more bodyfat you are packing, the greater your risk of an early death.

Heart attacks are the No. 1 cause of death for American men.

The link between extra weight and increased heart attack risk lies in how the body responds to an increased fat intake. A higher overall fat concentration increases sodium levels and raises cholesterol and triglyceride fats in your bloodstream. This consequence is especially bothersome because HDL cholesterol, a known risk-reducer of heart disease, is replaced by “bad cholesterol.” The result can be coronary heart disease, which will lead to heart attacks.

Excessive weight also increases blood pressure (hypertension), causing your heart to work too hard and increasing your risk of heart disease. An additional scary consequence of extra weight is an increased probability of angina-related chest pains and “sudden death” heart attacks (coming without earlier symptoms).

Being overweight causes diabetes. While being overweight can result in further complications for people with Type I and Type III diabetes, it can be a direct cause of Type II diabetes. Type II is typified by insulin resistance, and your chances of developing the disease are based on risk factors like how overweight you are, how long you’ve been that way and where your body deposits fat.

Body weight and the onset of Type II diabetes share a link based on the interaction of fat cells and insulin. The cells in your body need insulin to bring them glucose, but fat cells are more resistant to insulin, leaving an unnecessarily high level of glucose in the bloodstream and not providing enough energy for the cells that need them. In essence, the fat is zapping your energy and eventually, the body becomes totally resistant to insulin.

Luckily, the American Diabetes Association states that with 150 minutes of exercise each week and a 5 percent to 7 percent body weight reduction, you can lower your risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

Being overweight causes strokes. Strokes remain among the top five leading causes of death. When there’s an interruption in the brain’s blood supply, what follows is an immediate life-threatening risk. While there are many other risk factors in play, strokes have also been linked directly to obesity and being overweight, specifically where body mass is concerned.

The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study showing that people who are overweight by 20 percent or less carry a 50 percent increased probability of suffering a stroke. The study also explained that being more than 20 percent overweight carried a risk that was twice as high.

Obesity also is a common denominator and can cause the following diseases:

Hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis, gout, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fertility complications, pregnancy complications, psychological disorders, uric acid nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) and cancer of the kidney, endometrium, breast, colon and rectum, esophagus, prostate and gall bladder.

These are just a few reasons why everyone needs to make health a priority. Join a gym and hire a personal trainer today.

John DeFendis is the director of exercise andfitness at Coop’s Health & Fitness in Anderson and Greenville.

*Results may vary from person to person.


No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.