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Adults are regarded as obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Adults with a BMI of up to 29.9 are considered to be overweight. Recent surveys indicate that about 42% of adults in the U.S. are obese. 

A man and obese woman jogging in the park.

Obesity has become a leading global health concern, with nearly three million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Some of the main contributing factors include the consumption of more high-calorie and high-fat foods, and a shift towards a more sedentary lifestyle. Here are three of the serious health conditions associated with being overweight and obese:  

1. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with being overweight or obese. Eight out of ten people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Fat cells release chemicals that reduce insulin sensitivity and disrupt insulin production. Obesity can also trigger metabolic changes, which also reduce insulin sensitivity. Without any intervention, obesity can result in type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are too high. High blood glucose levels can lead to many other issues such as nerve damage, eye problems, kidney disease and heart disease.  

The positive news is that those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay its onset by getting enough physical exercise and losing five to seven percent of their body weight. Becoming more active and losing weight can reduce the need for diabetic medication.  

Wegovy is an effective FDA-approved weight loss medication. The medication is injected once a week to assist with long-term weight loss management. It helps to facilitate weight loss by decreasing insulin resistance, slowing down the emptying of the stomach and reducing appetite. Find out more about how to get Wegovy on the Drip Hydration website. Wegovy is most effective when it is part of a total weight loss program including dietary changes, regular exercise, and behavioral changes. 

2. Heart Disease 

Heart disease refers to various problems that can affect your heart, such as angina, heart failure, a heart attack, or a stroke. Overweight or obese individuals often suffer from conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high glucose levels, which increase your risks of developing heart disease. Weight distributed around the stomach, indicates a higher risk of developing heart disease than when found on the hips and buttocks.

Excess fat causes chemical changes in the blood. Fat cells become enlarged and produce hormones that cause chronic inflammation, which affects how the body produces insulin. This causes difficulty in regulating insulin levels, increasing the chances of developing metabolic syndrome and subsequently heart disease. 

Lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery can help reduce weight and lessen the risk of heart disease. Losing five to ten percent of body weight can reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease. Eating fewer calories helps to reduce abdominal fat.  

The Mediterranean diet is often suggested as the best diet for reducing the risks of heart disease. This diet includes eating many plant-based fruits and vegetables with modest servings of lean meat, dairy and seafood. 

Approximately 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise can reduce obesity. This is 30 minutes five times a week. Choosing enjoyable activities such as dancing, swimming, or walking can provide more motivation. 

3. Cancer 

More than 680,000 cancers associated with obesity occur in the U.S. every year. Cancers of the breast, endometrium (uterine lining), esophagus, and kidney have all been linked to obesity. Some studies have also found links between obesity and cancers of the pancreas, gallbladder, and ovaries. Being overweight or obese does not necessarily mean that the person will definitely get cancer. It does means that they are more likely to get cancer than if they were at a healthy weight.  

The reason excess weight and obesity are linked to cancer is that they cause changes in the body. The changes include inflammation, higher than normal levels of sex hormones, as well as  insulin and insulin-like growth factor. The more weight someone gains and the longer they remain overweight, the higher the risk of cancer. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the important steps people can take to lower the risks of getting cancer. Following an eating plan and regular physical activity can help overweight or obese people achieve a healthier weight..


Featured Photo by Julia Larson

November 24, 2022
August 29, 2022

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