Health Risks of Being Obese

In childhood, I remember what we call obesity now (and what was called fat then) was considered as a sign of wealth. A fat businessman, for example, was looked upon as a wealthy man. Somehow we did not understand why this fat man would die around middle age for instance, of a heart attack.

Parents loved to see their children fat and round, and indulged them in simple eating pleasures of ice cream candy and cake. They thought it cute for their children to be fat and beamed with delight when neighbors and friends commented on how “cute’ their children looked.

Despite all the education we have received in recent years about the dangers of obesity, parents continue to gorge their children with unhealthy treats and junk food. They prefer to remain in ignorant bliss as to the future detriment of the health of these unfortunate children when they become adults.

Visitors to the United States always comment on having seen fat people in other countries, but never anything like what they see in this country. Statistics prove that obesity is a significant risk factor leading to many fatal diseases. People ought to become aware of these risks and take care of their health.

What is obesity, first of all? It is not the same a being overweight; however, being overweight without being cautious about what one puts into one’s mouth; and how much exercise one gets does lead to obesity.

How do you know if you are obese? An unexpected diagnosis of type 2diabetes, for example, will undoubtedly make you aware. Why, because according to the American Diabetes Association, 75 percent of all people with type 2 diabetes “either or were obese at one time or another.”

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is what determines whether or not you are obese. In medical terms, anyone with a body mass index of 30 or above is considered overweight. A BMI chart takes into account your height and is a reasonable estimate of your percentage of body fat. Using such a diagram can help you to determine what weight is healthy for you.

Symptoms of obesity may include shortness of breath, heartburn, low back pain, leg, knee and foot anxiety, and depression. In severe cases, these symptoms can lead to potentially life-endangering medical problems, ranging from diabetes and kidney disease to cancer and high blood pressure. We also see and hear about cases each day, where obesity leads to heart disease and stroke.

To prevent obesity, we should eat healthy, balanced diets, with less emphasis on large meals, desserts, and second helpings. Have fruit as snacks, in place of corn and potato chips. Avoid yo-yo dieting and maintain regular good eating habits, with lots of fruit and vegetables involved.

Critical, and cannot be overemphasized is the need to exercise to control weight. Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand. Exercise helps to burn off unwanted calories and improves the use of necessary calories by increasing muscle mass.

The more weight your body accumulates, the more health problems you risk; including vitamin deficiencies. Talk with health-care professionals like your doctor, nurse, dietitian, nutritionist or exercise therapist, about the dangers of obesity and how you can control it. They will assist you in developing a strategy toward making essential lifestyle changes.

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