Health Effects of Being Overweight or Obese

In June 2017 an article by the New England Journal of Medicine was released analyzing the health risks of obese and overweight individuals in 195 countries over 25 years. Here are the major conclusions of that study:

  • There is probable evidence that being overweight leads to 20 different diseases including back pain, several types of cancers, stroke, heart disease, hypertension, and osteoarthritis
  • The lowest overall risk of death was observed for a BMI of 20 to 25. Click here to determine your BMI.
  • Globally, 5% of children and 12% of adults are obese. Obesity is generally higher in women than in men
  • The prevalence of obesity has doubled in 73 countries in the last few decades
  • In 2015, high BMI contributed to 4.0 million deaths globally with cardiovascular disease being the primary cause
  • High BMI also accounted for 28.6 million years lived with disability
  • From 1990 through 2015, there was a relative increase of 28.3% in the global rate of death related to high BMI
  • “The results show that both the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI are increasing globally. These findings highlight the need for implementation of multicomponent interventions to reduce the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI”

Global obesity is increasing and the evidence supporting the resultant diseases of obesity at this point are irrefutable. What do you think we can do as a community to help prevent the further increase in obesity rates and further disease? Comment below.

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The Difference Between Being Fat and Overweight

I was recently asked what the difference between being fat and being overweight is. Below is a picture I got from Pinterest, there are many like it. Notice the woman on the right looks skinny and fit, while the woman on the left looks like she may be carrying a few extra pounds. This is the same woman at the exact same weight.

Let’s assume this woman is an even 5 feet tall. At 5 feet 130 pounds her Body Mass Index (BMI) would be 25.4. BMI uses your height and your weight to assign your body a numerical value. Any value from 25 to 30 is considered overweight. Above 30 is obese while below 25 is the normal range and eventually the underweight range. If you are the woman in the picture below, assuming a height at 5 feet, you would be considered overweight in both pictures according to your BMI.

The difference is BMI doesn’t take into account how your weight is distributed. Muscle is more dense that fat, meaning a pound of muscle takes up less space that a pound of fat. If you are carrying 5 pounds of fat then it will have a noticeable difference in the way you look while 5 pounds of muscle may be barely noticeable. That is how it is possible for both of the pictures below to be the same person at the same weight. But even though they are both considered to be overweight, the body time on the right would not be considered fat. This is because of the muscle difference. This is common among people who lift weights. People who lift weights may be very healthy, fit, and skinny, but will often be considered overweight due to all of their lean muscle mass.

 

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