The negative effects of obesity on human health are well documented. Since 1970s, the average weight of individuals in developed countries has soared – in line with rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, and even some cancers. Obesity costs the nations billions due to increased medical bills and loss of productivity.
A variety of conditions have contributed to this phenomenon. Sitting in front of computers and using cars for most trips result in more inactive lifestyles. The availability of cheap fast food leads individuals to eat more. Consumption of high-calorie processed food packs on the pounds as well.
Let us have a look at the most common negative health effects of obesity, which are represented by diabetes, sleep disorders and heart disease.
Obesity is the biggest predictor of Type 2 diabetes. An individual whose BMI exceeds 30 is 80 times more likely to develop diabetes of Type 2 than an individual whose BMI is under 22. It is not the weight itself that contributes to diabetes, but where the fat deposits are stored in the body. It appears that it is the waistline that we need to watch, in particular, when it comes to preventing diabetes. Individuals with excessive abdominal fat are more prone to developing Type 2 diabetes due to abdominal fat cells’ ability to release inflammatory substances that reduce the body’s capacity to utilize insulin.
Ever-widening waistlines have been affecting children’s health as well. 30 years ago, 5-7 percent of children were obese; by 2013 that share had grown to 20 percent in the developed countries. The risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by the age of 25 quadruples in obese kids.
Fortunately, even small weight reduction can be positive. Losing just 5-10 percent of your weight can result in drastic improvements in overall health, which in turn reduces the risk of diabetes.
Obesity is associated with several factors increasing one’s risk for cardiovascular disease (stroke and coronary artery disease):
- High blood lipids, particularly LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, total cholesterol as well as low HDL cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
Obesity is also linked to an enlarged left ventricle, boosting risks for heart failure.
In the realm of sleep, the most documented complication from being obese is disrupted breathing that leads to snoring and sleep apnea. The excessive fat in the neck or stomach areas may be reducing lung volumes, thus collapsing the airways. When mild, it may lead to snoring. Snoring is just a disrupted airflow that becomes noisy and results in snoring. As the airways become even more crowded and prone to collapse, the flow of air can cease entirely. This will lead to pauses in breathing also known as apnea.
The problems linked to sleep apnea are well-researched. There are nuisance symptoms like extreme daytime sleepiness and problems with memory, concentration, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.
Other Negative Effects of Obesity
Obesity can also be linked to some cancers, osteoarthritis and gallbladder disease. Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to develop unhealthy embryos with inferior chance of survival and possibly greater health problems during postnatal development, researchers warn.
What can I realistically do to prevent obesity?
There is a rising understanding that striving to reach and keep healthy weights may save lives and health-care budgets, help prevent heart disease, strengthen immunity and improve quality of life. While it may sound dramatic, it has been shown that a lack of regular exercise and a high body weight can cause not only lifestyle diseases, but also early death. Of all reasons to exercise, this one sounds particularly compelling. The principal message in all of this is ‘let`s get moving’.