Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Unhealthy weight level is one of the greatest challenges facing the United States in both adults and children. The American Heart Association estimates that between 60 and 70 percent of the population classifies as either overweight or obese. The severity of associated heart risks makes obesity-related disease one of the leading causes of death.

Who is Classified as Obese or Overweight?

Obese and overweight classifications are both based on an individuals’ BMI, or body mass index. BMI is calculated by comparing your weight to your height to determine the amount of fat in your body. The calculations aren’t exact, as some characteristics like muscle mass can skew the results. Muscle is healthy and smaller than fat but it weighs more, so individuals with lots of muscle may appear to have an unhealthy BMI.

A healthy BMI for a body falls within a given range and should be discussed with your doctor. Sometimes an individual may appear to qualify as overweight but her particular body attributes make her weight entirely healthy for her.

Generally, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight in adults. A BMI of 30 to 40 is considered obese, while over 40 is morbidly obese.

Risks of Being Overweight or Obese

Being obese puts you at greater risk for many health issues, including:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Some cancers
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes.

Many of these conditions can be fatal or irreversible, even with the best treatments.

How to Reduce the Risks

One of the most dangerous aspects of obesity is that unsafe or rapid weight loss can also trigger health problems.

Discuss with your doctor ways to safely reduce your weight in order to reduce the associated risks. Typically the recommended treatment will be a combination of diet and exercise. Your doctor may recommend a specific diet in order to treat or avoid certain diet-related health risks. Even a 10 to 20 pound reduction in weight can significantly reduce the possibility of obesity-related health issues.

In more serious instances, your doctor can guide you through the process of gastric bypass or lap-banding surgeries. These are often expensive and dangerous radical treatments, though many obese individuals have benefited from the process.

Maintaining your metabolism to lose weight through proper diet and sufficient exercise can keep you from having to worry about obesity and weight-related health issues.