When being overweight becomes a health problem

There are a lot of divided opinions on the concept of being ‘Fat but Fit’. It’s true that the body of an overweight person who exercises and eats healthily can function just as well as someone who’s at their target weight.

But the reality is that over time, the more overweight and ultimately obese someone is, the greater their risk of developing health problems.

Health problems that can be prevented by losing weight, include:

  • Arthritis. Carrying extra weight can cause wear and tear on the joints, even at a young age.
  • Asthma. Obesity is associated with breathing problems, especially in kids, that can make it harder to keep up with friends, play sports, or just walk from class to class.
  • Heart disease. According to studies, being overweight boosts the risk of heart disease by 32%, while obesity increases the risk by a staggering 81%.
  • High blood pressure. Hypertension is more common in overweight or obese people. It causes the heart to strain itself by having to pump harder as the arteries must carry blood that’s moving under greater pressure.
  • High cholesterol. Long before getting sick, obese people may have abnormal blood lipid levels, including high cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. These increase the risk of heart attack and stroke when a person gets older.
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes. When there is excess body fat, insulin is less effective at getting glucose, the body’s main source of energy, into cells. More insulin becomes needed to maintain a normal blood sugar. For some overweight people, insulin resistance may progress to diabetes or high blood sugar.
  • Gallstones. This condition, due to an accumulation of bile that hardens in the gallbladder to form gallstones, may be painful and require surgery.
  • Fatty liver. An unhealthy lifestyle can cause fat to accumulate in the liver, which causes inflammation, scarring and permanent liver damage.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women who are overweight may have elevated testosterone levels in their blood, which can cause missed periods, excess hair growth, worsening acne and male-type baldness. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes. Overweight women might also experience fertility problems.
  • Sleep apnoea. When you temporarily stop breathing while you sleep it doesn’t only interrupt your sleep, and leave you tired and unable to concentrate, it can also lead to heart problems.
  • Depression. According to studies, people who are obese are more likely to be depressed and have lower self-esteem.

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