For some people, the consequences of being overweight aren’t obvious until they develop a serious health problem. When this happens, drastic action is needed, and in some cases it’s very hard to reverse the problem.
It’s always better to be proactive and well-informed about how our bodies are affected by being overweight. In this blog post, we look at the 5 most important consequences of exceeding a healthy weight.
Being overweight causes and effects
An adult is overweight when their Body Mass Index is between 25 and 30. Body Mass Index can be determined online using this calculator.
Before getting into the specific consequences of being overweight, it’s important to look at what causes this issue.
There can many contributing factors, but the most common are:
- A sedentary lifestyle where you consume more calories than you spend.
- Poor eating habits, whether they’re due to lack of access to healthy foods or being used to excessively large portions or to snacking throughout the day.
- Certain drugs, like corticosteroids or anti-depressants.
- Hormonal disorders.
- Being exposed to constant stress, as this makes people more likely to fall into emotional eating.
- Not getting enough sleep, since this disrupts the hormones responsible for appetite control.
The negative effects of being overweight
The consequences of being fat need to be taken seriously, as extra body weight puts an additional burden on virtually every part of the body.
1. Cardiovascular disease
Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. A 12-year study carried out in the UK found that overweight people were twice as likely to develop heart problems than those who had a healthy weight. Researchers also observed that the risk increased with further weight gain, and that the risk was higher even if overweight participants didn’t have any other metabolic problems.
Heart disease is more common in overweight people because the cardiovascular system becomes unable to respond to the demands linked to extra body weight. Over time, this can lead to an irregular heart beat, heart enlargement, and heart failure.
Moreover, extra weight often comes from fat build-up. When fat accumulates in the blood vessels, this puts the circulatory system under major stress, and increases the chances of developing high blood pressure. In turn, high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.
Other studies have found that overweight individuals are more likely to have cardiovascular problems at a younger age.
2. Type 2 diabetes
Excess body fat is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can be life-threatening and lead to the loss of function in eyes, feet, and heart.
This condition interferes with the correct functioning of insulin, which is necessary to keep blood sugar levels under control.
The figures leave no room for doubt: approximately 30% of overweight individuals have diabetes, and 85% of diabetic people have excess body weight.
3. Elevated cancer risk
According to the CDC, the consequences of being overweight include a higher risk of developing 13 types of cancer.
The risk is particularly elevated for cancers affecting the reproductive organs, liver, kidney, pancreas, upper stomach, colon, and brain.
It’s believed that excess weight affects hormonal balance and causes inflammation in various organs, which are in themselves risk factors for cancer.
4. Bone and joint pain
Overweight individuals often suffer from musculoskeletal disorders, which affect the bones, joints, and muscles since they have to support extra body weight.
This can cause chronic bone and joint pain, as well as painful conditions like arthritis and osteoarthritis. Moreover, these conditions worsen much faster in obese and overweight people.
5. Mood disorders
Researchers have also found a connection between being overweight and mental health issues. Mood disorders like depression and anxiety are up to 55% more common in people with excess body weight, possibly due to a poor body image.
At the same time, mood disorders can make it harder to make the lifestyle changes needed to lose weight, as people who suffer from them are usually low in energy and motivation.
Being overweight poses serious risks to physical and mental health. Excess body weight can make you more vulnerable to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, bone and joint pain, and mood disorders. Knowing which are the consequences of being overweight can help you take steps towards healthier living. Know all about overweight in Spatz Medical.