Obesity is defined simply as too much body fat. Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat — especially in your waist area — you're at higher risk for health problems.
Being overweight increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke and your risk of developing diabetes. Excess weight increases the strain on the heart and contributes to high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and much more likely to develop diabetes.
The best weight is determined by the lean body mass (everything but fat) plus just the amount of fat necessary for good health: 10 percent to 18 percent of total body weight for men and 18 percent to 25 percent of total body weight for women. A health professional can estimate your percentage by measuring your body fat with an instrument called a skin fold caliper.
A more common, but less accurate, way to determine your ideal weight is to use standard weight charts based on a person's height and frame. One such chart, the body mass index (BMI), measures weight (in kilograms) divided by height, squared.
Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack. Some reasons for this higher risk are known, but others are not. For example, obesity
Even when there are no adverse effects on the known risk factors, obesity by itself increases risk of heart disease. It also harms more than just the heart and blood vessel system. It's a major cause of gallstones and can worsen degenerative joint disease.
Obesity is mainly caused by taking in more calories than are used up in physical activity and daily life. When people eat too many calories, or too much saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, their blood cholesterol levels often rise. That raises their risk of heart disease.
Heart health can be affected by body shape, as well as by weight. People whose waists are nearly as large as or larger than their hips have a higher rate of heart disease. So, a good indicator of heart disease risk is simply a waist measurement. If your waist is greater than 40 inches (for men) or greater than 35 inches (for women), your intra-abdominal fat level is too high, increasing your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
We all know that carrying excess weight can have serious repercussions on our health. But have you stopped to truly consider the benefits of being at a healthy weight? The potential benefits can be found not only in our physical health, but in our mental health, as well.
Some of these benefits include:
It is not easy to lose weight, but with all of the potential benefits to be gained from being at a healthy weight, it is important that overweight people strive to reduce their size. If you are one of those people, talk to your doctor or dietician to develop an eating and exercise plan that will work best for you.
Losing weight has been a lifelong struggle for millions. A word of caution: highly restrictive diets, liquid diets, potions, pills, and other miracle cures generally do not result in long-term weight loss and may be harmful to your health. Most people who lose weight rapidly gain it back within a year.
Permanent weight loss comes from making permanent healthy lifestyle changes. You can lose weight by eating a balanced, low fat, high fiber diet and getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Small, consistent changes, over time, will bring you closer and closer to your ideal weight and can have significant health benefits. Avoid fad or crash diets. Set a realistic goal – aim to reduce your weight by ½kg to 2kg per month. It may not sound much but slow changes make it easier to keep the weight off.
Try for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day of the week. Remember, any physical activity is better than none, so get started now.
If you are having trouble losing weight or are gaining weight over time, talk to your doctor, nurse or health professional about seeing a dietitian.