Health science and nutrition were experiencing tremendous development in the last decade. They are still constantly evolving in a very fast pace. Sometimes, it is rather difficult to know what information is valid as some of the latest case studies could sometimes contradict earlier ones.
However, when it comes to the relationship between overweight and some associated health risks, wide range of independent studies seem to agree or have the same basic conclusion over the last few decades.
Most people agree that being overweight would increase the risk of many diseases and health conditions. These include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, respiratory problems, colon cancer, breast cancer, liver damage, etc.
Are you overweight?
Let me show you an easy way to calculate your weight; it’s called BMI (Body Mass Index). It’s a measurement tool that compares your height to your weight and gives you an indication of whether you are overweight, underweight or at a healthy weight for your height.
Here is the formula: Weight in Kilograms / (Height in Meters) x (Height in Meters).
In words, you divide your weight (in kg) by your height (in m) squared.
For example, if your weight is 85kg and your height is 1.8m ; your BMI = 26.23.
The following table is a rough classification:
– BMI less than 18.5 means you are under weight.
– BMI between 18.6 and 24.99 indicates you are at a healthy weight.
– BMI between 25 and 29.99 indicates you are overweight for your height.
– BMI between 30 and 34.99 indicates obesity (class 1)
– BMI between 35 and 39.99 indicates obesity (class 2)
– BMI 40 and above suggests Extreme Obesity!
The BMI is a good yardstick for you to judge if you’re at high risk of potential health problems. If you’re on the lower end of the BMI scale, you’re at low health risk. But for those who are nearer to the higher BMI scale are at higher health risks.
For example, cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance syndrome are often associated with people who have excessive fat deposits around the stomach and abdomen (or abdominal obesity). Women whose waist circumference of 35 inches or more are considered to be having abdominal obesity. For men, it’s 40 inches or above.
Excessive body fat is a known factor that contributes to narrowing of the arteries and clots that can cause a stroke and heart attacks. Excessive body fat also also causes an increase in blood pressure (hypertension).
Another common health problem that is always associated to obesity is Type 2 diabetes. Of course, genetic factors will contribute to type 2 diabetes but according to most studies, the risk becomes double for those who are obese or experiencing rapid weight gain of say 10-20 lbs.
Although there are many genetic and other environmental elements that could contribute to higher health risks, excessive body fat is always a big factor contributing to serious health issues. Being overweight is not a matter of appearance, it’s a health risk.