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The Dangers of Obesity

By Paul Rothbart

Society can be superficial. Images of thin people with flat stomachs are all over television, film, and print. They present a false ideal. People in real life often have some extra pounds. That's OK to a point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the dangers of being obese are not cosmetic. Being too far overweight carries serious health risks. With people working longer hours, less time is available to exercise and eat well. This has caused more and more Americans to become obese. Here are some facts.

The Numbers

The numbers concerning obesity in the nation are staggering: 36.5 percent of American adults are obese and 32.5 percent are overweight. More than two-thirds of adults are carrying more weight than is healthy. Among children aged 2-19, about 17 percent are obese. Overweight children are five times more likely to be obese when they become adults. Becoming obese at a younger age increases the health risks associated with the condition. Middle-aged people, between 40 and 59, are the most likely to be obese. More men are overweight than women, but there are more women who are obese.

Health Risks

The health risks associated with obesity are many and serious. The more extra weight your body carries, the harder your heart has to work. Just walking at a casual pace can put a big strain on the heart. This makes heart disease, heart attack, and stroke much more likely. There is a direct correlation between waist size and the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study found that the men who are in the top 10 percent for waist size are 20 more likely to develop diabetes than those in the bottom 10 percent. There are in fact, more than 60 chronic diseases linked to obesity including cancer. Obesity causes 2.8 million deaths each year, placing it in the top five causes of death.

Other Problems

Obesity can affect mental health as well. Many overweight people have self-esteem issues. Depression is common as are anxiety and stress. Those who are obese worry about their health and may not be as active as they like. They also miss 56 percent more days of work than people at a healthy weight. This can cause problems with employers as well as cost income. Medical costs are also higher with obese people paying an average of $1,429 each year. Obese Americans annually pay $147 billion in health costs.

The perfect body doesn't exist and it can be difficult not to have a few extra pounds, especially for older adults. But obesity is dangerous and costly. Losing weight is not easy, but making the effort may extend your life.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fredericksburg, Va.

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