DO YOU KNOW THE HEALTH RISKS OF BEING OVERWEIGHT?
Weighing too much may increase your risk for developing many health problems.
If you are overweight or obese, you may be at risk for:
- type 2 diabetes
- coronary heart disease and stroke
- metabolic syndrome
- certain types of cancer
- sleep apnea
- gallbladder disease
- fatty liver disease
- pregnancy complications
Body Mass Index Body Mass Index Table Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that is often used to determine whether a person’s health is at risk due to his or her weight. BMI is a ratio of your weight to your height. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is consid ered healthy; a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. You can use the table below to determine your BMI. Find your height in the left-hand column labeled “Height.” Move across to your weight. The number at the top of the column is the BMI for that height and weight. Pounds have been rounded off.
Another way to determine if your weight is placing your health at risk is to measure your waist. Waist measurement does not determine if you are overweight, but it does indicate if you have excess fat in your abdomen. This is important because extra fat around your waist may increase health risks even more than fat elsewhere on your body. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have an increased risk for obesity-related diseases. The Waist circumference for Male should be 36 inches or less. For women 34 inches or less.
Type 2 Diabetes
How is it linked to overweight? More than 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. It is not known exactly why people who are overweight are more likely to develop this disease. It may be that being overweight causes cells to change, making them resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin carries sugar from blood to the cells, where it is used for energy. When a person is insulin resistant, blood sugar cannot be taken up by the cells, resulting in high blood sugar. In addition, the cells that produce insulin must work extra hard to try to keep b lood sugar normal. This may cause these cells to gradually fail.
What can weight loss do?
You may lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight and increasing the amount of physical activity you do. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help you control your blood sugar levels and prevent or delay complications. Losing weight and exercising more may also allow you to reduce the amount of diabetes medication you take. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a large clinical study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and doing moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, may prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. For more information about the Diabetes Prevention Program, click here
Coronary Heart Disease
and Stroke How are they linked to overweight? People who are overweight are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL cholesterol (a fat-like substance often called “bad cholesterol”), and low levels of HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”). These are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. In addition, excess body fat—especially abdominal fat—may produce substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation in blood vessels and throughout the body may raise heart disease risk.
What can weight loss do?
Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can lower your chances for developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing as little as 10 pounds. Weight loss may improve blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels; improve heart function and blood flow; and decrease inflammation throughout the body.