According to an article by Nanci Hellmich on the USA Today website, approximately one-third of Americans are obese, meaning their body mass index (BMI) is over 30, a calculation based on the relationship of height to weight. The Mayo Clinic states that obesity increases a person's risk of health problems as well as social stigmas. The American Heart Association recommends adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a low-fat diet to help with weight loss and maintain a healthy weight.
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Obesity may contribute to cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease or stroke. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people in the United States, according to Weightawareness.com. A blood clot that prevents blood from getting to the brain is what causes most strokes. Overweight people are also at a higher risk of hypertension, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
People who are obese are more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who are at a healthy weight. Diabetes may cause kidney problems, heart disease, stroke or even blindness. Losing weight may lessen the need for insulin medication.
According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity contributes to several types of cancer. Overweight women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Men who are obese have a higher risk of colon, rectum or prostate cancer.
If you are obese, you have a higher risk of developing gallstones. Since losing weight too quickly may contribute to gallbladder disease, Weightawareness.com recommends losing about a pound per week if you are obese. Cutting 500 calories from your daily intake, burning 500 calories more each day through exercise or a combination of the two will result in a 1-lb. per week weight loss.
The additional weight an obese person carries adds pressure to the hip, back and knee joints. Losing weight may remove some of that pressure and help lesson the symptoms of the arthritis.
Too much uric acid in the blood may cause a condition called gout, a disease that causes crystals to move into the joints. Gout is more likely to occur if you are obese. Since certain types of diets may make the gout worse, discuss a weight loss method with your doctor before you begin.
Obesity is one of the main causes of sleep conditions, including sleep apnea, snoring and insomnia. Sleep apnea and insomnia may lead to heart disease, which may be fatal. Not getting enough sleep will cause sleepiness during the day and decrease productivity. If you are overweight and have sleep apnea, your symptoms may subside if you lose weight.
Obese women are more likely to experience complications with pregnancy than they would if they were at a healthy weight, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Some of the problems may include diabetes, hypertension and a greater risk of needing a cesarean section.
Overweight people often experience discrimination, which may lead to depression. With society placing so much importance on the appearance of being thin, obese people often feel inadequate or insecure in social situations. They may experience rejection and discrimination at work or school.