Maintaining a Healthy Weight – Why it Matters

July 05, 2024

maintaining a healthy weight why it is important

Many, if not most adults today can remember a time when seeing someone who was overweight or obese was relatively rare. Today, it’s not unusual at all. In 2022, the World Health Organization estimated that 43% of the world’s adults were overweight and 16% were obese, with 37 million children under age 5 also classified as overweight. These numbers are only expected to climb, making extra weight one of the world’s significant health risk factors.

But why is carrying extra pounds so dangerous?

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall well-being, particularly for women. Carrying extra weight, especially around the waist, significantly increases the risk of numerous health problems. Here's a look at just some of the dangers of being overweight or obese and the benefits of achieving a healthy body size.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are too high, and nearly 90% of individuals with this condition are overweight or obese. High blood glucose can lead to severe health issues, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, and nerve damage. Losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when blood flows through blood vessels with excessive force. Excess weight forces the heart to work harder to supply blood to all cells, which can damage blood vessels and kidneys. This condition increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

Heart Disease

Heart disease encompasses various conditions affecting the heart, including heart attacks, heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Overweight and obesity are significant risk factors because they contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood glucose levels.

Stroke

Strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain or neck is blocked or bursts, cutting off blood flow to parts of the brain. Overweight and obesity elevate blood pressure, the leading cause of strokes.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. These conditions include a large waist size, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and low HDL cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight and obesity.

Fatty Liver Diseases

Fatty liver diseases, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), result from fat accumulation in the liver. These conditions can lead to severe liver damage or failure. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors, but losing 3% to 5% of your body weight can significantly reduce liver fat and improve liver health.

Cancer

Overweight and obesity increase the risk of several cancers, including colon, rectum, prostate, breast, uterus, and gallbladder cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower the risk of these cancers.

Breathing Problems

Excess weight can impair lung function, leading to conditions like sleep apnea and asthma. Sleep apnea is particularly common in individuals with obesity due to fat accumulation around the neck, which narrows the airway.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in joints. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of osteoarthritis by adding stress to joints and cartilage.

Gallbladder and Pancreatic Diseases

Extra weight raises the risk of gallbladder diseases like gallstones and pancreatitis. A healthy weight can help prevent these conditions by reducing cholesterol levels in bile and fat levels in the blood.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing the risk of numerous health problems. By adopting healthier lifestyle choices, such as balanced eating and regular physical activity, you can significantly improve your overall well-being and quality of life. If you're struggling with weight management, consider seeking support from your healthcare provider so they can help you develop a personalized plan that works for you.



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