fat tuesday

February 17th, 2015

Fat Tuesday – Top 5 Ways Your Weight Affects More Than Your Waistline

Fat Tuesday, that time honored annual festival of excess in New Orleans, is typically a cause for celebration. But lose the “Tuesday,” and we’re just left with one giant-sized problem: obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults (35.7 percent) are considered obese. Add to that the over 12.7 million obese children in this country (aged 2 to 19), and America has a problem that extends far beyond the numbers on the scale. Here are the top 5 ways your weight is affecting more than just your waistline.

  1. Type 2 Diabetes – Some 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, or have a waist size of 35 inches or more (for women) or 40 inches or more (for men.) Over a prolonged period of time, those increased sugar levels can lead to blindness, kidney failure, circulation problems and amputations, as well as gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
  2. Metabolic Syndrome – Excess body fat – especially visceral fat, which is deposited deep within the abdomen – surrounds organs and disrupts their function. This increases factors like hormone production, inflammation, blood pressure and cholesterol and interferes with blood vessel activity. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Stroke – Increased blood pressure, or hypertension, is often a result of a diet that’s too high in sodium. It’s also a primary cause of stroke. High cholesterol, diabetes and blood vessel issues – all associated with obesity – are the others. Control your lifestyle and diet, and you cut your risk of suffering a stroke.
  4. Joint Pain – Carrying extra body weight leads to decreased mobility and often joint pain. Patients who are overweight tend to not exercise as a result, which leads to further inactivity, worsening the cycle. The goal should be to walk 10,000 steps per day to achieve optimal levels of circulation, and keep your metabolism working all day.
  5. Depression – Obesity can be both caused by and worsened by stress and emotional eating. This increased body weight further affects one’s mentality by lowering confidence and self-esteem, which often leads to depression and anxiety.

It’s important to remember that your lifestyle can be passed on to your children, who are more likely to emulate whatever bad habits they see at home. You can stop the cycle of obesity, both for your own well-being and that of your loved ones. If you suspect that your own heart health may be compromised due to excess weight, take charge. Don’t know where to start? Find out your real heart age using our quick and easy Sentara Heart Health Profiler, because it’s never too late to change your lifestyle.