10 Health Risks Linked to Obesity
An average Indian needs to lose 11 kgs to be of optimum weight. More than 73% of Indians are overweight and stand a high risk of obesity. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diet choices have lead to 1 out of every 2 Indian to be obese.
What is Obesity?
Body Mass Index (BMI) was derived from booking weight (kilograms) and height (metres). Using this, the patients were categorized as underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal or lean BMI (18.5–22.9 kg/m2), overweight (23.0 –24.9 kg/m2) and obese (≥25 kg/m2) based on the revised consensus guidelines for India.. The BMI criteria for obesity in South Asians for overweight and obesity is lower than shown in the picture.
Obesity is a condition where your Body Mass Index, or BMI, is higher than 30. Read more about Obesity here. And being obese can lead to multiple health risks. Here are the 10 health risks that are linked to obesity:
- High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which blood flows through your blood vessels with a force greater than normal. High blood pressure can strain your heart, damage blood vessels, and raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney diseases.
- Stroke and Heart Disease
Obesity increases your risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which lead to increased risk of various cardiovascular diseases. However, losing 5-10% of your body weight in a stipulated period of time has proven beneficial to lower this risk.
- Type 2 Diabetes
People who are obese or overweight have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes which adds pressure on their body to utilise insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar, which lead to increased blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, get physically active and control your blood sugar levels to remain healthy.
Osteoarthritis is a joint condition that affects the knee, back, or hips. If you’re overweight or obese, the extra weight causes pressure on your joints which wears away the tissues protecting our joints and lead to pain and swelling in the affected area.
Sleep Apnea is a state of breathing that is linked to being overweight. Sleep apnea causes a person to snore heavily and briefly stop breathing while asleep. It can cause heart diseases or stroke. It can also cause high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and headaches.
- Lower Back Pain and Joint Pain
Persons with obesity have a high chance of damaging the lower part of their spinal cord, the lumbar region, leading to structural damage. When the spine is forced to assimilate all the excess weight, it can often lead to wear and tear, causing lower back pain.
Fatty Liver Disease
Hepatic steatosis is another name for fatty liver. This condition arises when excess fat deposits in the liver, It's natural to have some fat in your liver, but too much might be dangerous. Not only is there a lot of fat in the body, but there's also inflammation in the liver.
Obesity and being overweight can be the cause of many underlying physical conditions and make you susceptible to various forms of cancer like endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus lining), gastric cancers, thyroid cancer and many others.
Obesity raises the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, the most common causes of kidney disease. Even if you don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, obesity itself may promote kidney disease and quicken its progress.
- Pregnancy Issues
Overweight and obesity raise the risk of health problems that may occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese may have a greater chance of
- developing gestational diabetes (Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy)
- having preeclampsia—high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can cause severe health problems for mother and baby if left untreated
- needing a cesarean section, or C-section and, as a result, taking longer to recover after giving birth
What are the Emotional Effects of Obesity?
Obesity is often associated with mental health issues like depression, lack of self-worth, and negative body image. People who deal with overweight and obesity may also be subject to social stigma and weight bias from others, that further worsen their confidence and mental health.
It is, however, important to remember that one needs to become healthy and maintain their weight to only be healthy, physically and mentally, and not to confer to societal stigma.