A growing health concern in recent years is the prevalence of obesity, defined as excess weight resulting in a BMI of over 30. This condition increases a person’s risk of developing many unpleasant and even dangerous medical concerns, including:
Reduced Life Expectancy
Obesity affects many different bodily systems and can therefore shorten a patient’s life if left untreated. Childhood obesity is a particularly potent problem, as its effects have health ramifications for the rest of a child’s life. One specific indicator of early mortality is a high waist-hip ratio, where a person’s waist is large in circumference relative to his or her hips. This measure is most relevant for older adults, whose BMI may not accurately reflect their body fat percentage.
Increased Risk of Disease
Obesity strains the body both physically and chemically, affecting hormone function and putting undue pressure on the joints, blood vessels, and airway. This can lead to a slew of problems, including type-II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, pancreatitis, and even liver failure. According to the Obesity Society, excess weight also increases a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer after menopause.
The human body can’t hold up under the stress of a high BMI, so people who have been obese for large portions of their lives may experience arthritis, joint pain, back problems, and gout. The resulting pain can make people reluctant to exercise for fear of suffering further, but physical activity is instrumental in decreasing discomfort and increasing overall wellbeing.