Health Effects of Obesity
Obesity is the accumulation of excess fat within the body. It is a chronic disease caused by a combination of environmental, genetic and personal factors. Eating a diet rich in sugar and fat, neglecting exercise and a variety of unhealthy lifestyle habits can contribute to the development of obesity.
As you gain weight your risk of experiencing health problems increases. These secondary health problems are called obesity-related diseases or co-morbid conditions. Obesity-related diseases are often preventable, but are becoming more common because of the rise in obesity rates throughout the United States.
Obesity increases your risk for:
- Physical health problems
- Mental health disease
- Joint pain and physical injury
The Medical Cost of Obesity
Every year, obesity is responsible for about $147 billion in medical bills nationwide. In fact, the average obese person will pay more than $1,400 annually in medical costs directly as a result of the additional health complications associated with carrying excess weight. In many cases, these medical costs are for conditions that could be prevented through weight management.
Often, the personal cost of obesity is much greater than the financial expense. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, complications that can be fatal.
When you are overweight or obese, you are at increased risk for developing:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Hyperlipidemia (High triglycerides and poor cholesterol levels)
- High blood sugar (Hyperglycemia)
- Type-2 diabetes
- Osteoarthritis (Joint pain)
- Obstructive Sleep apnea
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
Obesity can also increase your risk of developing certain forms of cancer, including breast, colon, gallbladder and prostate cancer.
Mental Health and Obesity
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience mental health disorders such as depression and severe anxiety. They are also more likely to be bullied and increases chances of social isolation and similar experiences that can reduce personal confidence and self-esteem. Obesity has also been shown to negatively influence:
- Energy levels
- Body image
Treatment for Obesity Related Disease
Losing weight is the most effective method of treatment for obesity related diseases. In some cases the onset of obesity related disease can be entirely reversed through successful weight management.
You do not have to reach your weight loss goal to begin experiencing the health benefits of weight loss. Losing just five to 10 percent of your excess body weight can result in lasting changes to your health and wellness level.