What Are The Health Effects Of Obesity?

Man with large amounts of belly fat

Obesity is considered the number one health crisis in America, and Europe is not far behind. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and, in spite of all the media attention the epidemic has received, the numbers of obese children, teens and adults continues to grow.

The Main Causes of Obesity

Of course, being overweight is caused by overeating. But, the problem of obesity is more complicated than that. Our lifestyles have made it easier than ever for us to gain weight, and harder than ever for us to lose it.

Here are some of the lifestyle factors that influence the tendency toward obesity.

1. Sedentary lifestyle

We’re getting far less exercise than we used to. We drive everywhere and spend too much time on the computer and watching television.

2. Poor Diet and Too Many Processed Foods

It’s not only the quantity of food we eat, it’s the type of food. The typical American diet is filled with processed food and fast food, and we’re less likely than ever to prepare fresh meals at home.

3. Ignorance of what is in our foods

Even when Americans cook at home, we’re less likely to use fresh ingredients and more likely to choose foods contain lots of fat and artificial ingredients. These foods often contain added calories, just to make them palatable.

Research is showing that there is a strong correlation between obesity and income levels as well as between obesity and race. Lower income people are more likely to be overweight or obese than those with a higher income. Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are more likely to be overweight or obese than whites.

The Main Health Risks of Obesity

Obesity is a serious health problem. Obesity can lead to the following serious health conditions:

  1. Cardiovascular Disease
  2. Heart Attack
  3. Stroke
  4. Type 2 Diabetes
  5. High Blood Pressure
  6. High Cholesterol

Obesity has even recently been linked to a higher risk for some forms of cancer, for Alzheimer’s disease and for reproductive problems.

In addition to these risks of serious illness that come with obesity, there can be other health problems that may be less serious, but still quite a challenge to living a healthy life.

People who are obese may have less energy, may have joint aches and pains, and may have trouble sleeping. They may also be subject to sleep apnea problems, which can, in some cases, be serious.

Statistics About Obesity

Some of the most significant statistics about obesity in America are quite staggering. The following statistics are supplied by the Get America Fit Foundation:

  1. Obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States
  2. 60 million Americans, 20 years and older are obese
  3. 9 million children and teens ages 6-19 are overweight
  4. 58 Million people in the US are overweight
  5. 40 Million are Obese
  6. 3 Million are morbidly Obese
  7. Eight out of 10 people over 25 are overweight
  8. 78% of Americans don’t meet basic activity level recommendations
  9. 25% are completely sedentary
  10. There has been a 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults aged 30-40 since 1990
  11. 80% of type II diabetes diagnoses are related to obesity
  12. 70% of cardiovascular disease diagnoses are related to obesity

There are many programs ongoing in the US aiming to help reduce the number of obese and overweight Americans, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative aimed at reducing childhood obesity levels.

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