has become a major problem in the United States over the past fifty
years. In fact, 64% of American adults are overweight or obese.
That is a staggering figure, especially when you consider all of
the health risks and diseases associated with obesity. If you think
you are severely overweight or obese, talk to your healthcare provider.
Your provider will be able to talk to you about any health problems
your weight may be causing, and he or she will also give you advice
on an effective weight loss program that will work for you.
Many women think weight management is the key to body care
and health. This should be a primary concern for you only if you
overweight or obese. Too many women are obsessed with losing weight
and have a distorted body image or perception of their ideal body
weight. For some people, those who are severely overweight or obese,
weight loss is the way to better health. For other women, those who
are thin, average or even slightly overweight, weight loss strategies
can be damaging to health. Before you decide upon a weight loss goal
or regimen, talk to your doctor about the appropriateness of your
The most common way of determining
if you are obese is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). The
BMI shows the ratio of your weight
to your height. It’s based on a mathematical formula that divides
your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.
The BMI is designed to show your percentage of body fat. Guidelines
for determining obesity are based on a collection of data from a
population of people representative of the population of the US.
The chart below will show you your BMI. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is indicative
of overweight, and a BMI of 30 or over is considered obese. A BMI
is not the only indicator of obesity, although it does provide you
with a good relative idea of your health and weight. Your doctor
will be able to perform other tests, such as waist circumference
measurement, blood tests and family history, to identify your health
risks and obesity level.
Obesity and overweight can lead to serious health conditions, including:
- Type 2 diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is characterized
by abnormally high blood sugar levels and can lead to further
- Heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is when
your blood and heart
are not functioning normally and this can lead to congestive heart
failure, angina, a heart attack and more. A stroke is experienced
when blood and oxygen don’t flow to the brain, which can
cause paralysis or death.
- Cancer. Cancer is the rapid growth of
abnormal cells in a specific part of the body that may spread
throughout the body. Obesity is
linked with cancers of the colon, esophagus, kidney, uterus and
- Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea happens when an individual awakens
in the night because he or she has stopped breathing. This severely
interferes with sleep patterns and may cause drowsiness and concentration
problems, or heart failure.
- Osteoarthritis. The constant pressure placed on
the joints of overweight and obese people leads to osteoarthritis
in the joints and cartilage.
This can be characterized by inflammation and debilitating pain.
disease. Gallstones are clusters of solid material that form
in the gallbladder, and are made up of cholesterol. Overweight
and obese people produce more cholesterol and thus have an increased
risk for developing gallstones that can lead to severe back and
- Fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is characterized by
the build-up of fat in the liver cells, and can cause serious
problems and inflammation. This is also directly related to type 2 diabetes.
Fatty liver disease could eventually lead to liver failure.
are overweight, you can lose as little as 5% of your body weight
and still experience dramatic health benefits. Talk to your
doctor about the proper mode of weight loss, but slow and gradual
pound shedding is always your best option. Fad diets and diet pills
are generally unreliable and can lead to more weight gain, especially
in severely overweight or obese people. Always remember to incorporate
moderate physical activity into your weight loss regimen. Thirty
minutes of moderate physical activity every day is recommended
for optimal results.
Medical and clinical weight loss programs for
severely or morbidly obese people are available. These programs
are intense, but they
are highly effective if done correctly. Sometimes gastric bypass surgery is a viable option
if you are morbidly obese and are experiencing debilitating health
effects due to obesity. If you feel like you have exhausted your
weight loss options, weight loss surgery might be the option
for you. This surgery is serious, and causes severe side effects
are uncomfortable and life-altering. Also, remember that anytime
you undergo surgery, you run the risk of experiencing surgery-related