Just about every organ of the body works less well when you’re overweight. Here are the major health problems associated with being over-fat.
- Increased cardiovascular disease: With excess body fat comes higher levels of blood lipids: cholesterol, LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), and total triglyceride levels all increase, while HDL (“good” cholesterol) decreases. These lipid levels lead to bad things for your cardiovascular system. The incidence of high blood pressure also rises when you’re overweight.
- Promotes diabetes: Excess fat reduces the efficiency of insulin. As a result, the pancreas needs to produce more insulin and may eventually wear out, leading to diabetes.
- Psychological and emotional problems: Being overweight definitely affects the psycho- social development of the child and adolescent. Our society places less value on fat people. Our culture rewards leanness and penalizes fatness, particularly in women. Studies have shown that obese children are more likely to develop a poor self-image and low self-esteem. They are prone to social isolation and, because they compete poorly in athletics, often choose more sedentary activities, which further increase their weight. Obesity is not just a problem of the body, but also the mind. Obsession with weight and becoming thin presents its own problems, as the anorexia issue confirms.
- Sleep disturbances, namely sleep apnea: A study showed that thirty-three percent of severely obese persons had sleep apnea and severe enough breathing problems during sleep to cause restlessness at night and interfere with the ability to work and think the following day.
- Orthopedic problems: Especially in growing children and adolescents, increased weight bearing on the hips and knee bones tends to cause bowed legs, to the extent that the leg bones are more likely to slip out of the hip bones (a condition called slipped femoral epiphysis). Arthritis is more common in obese persons. Losing weight eases the workload for arthritic joints.
- More infections: One study showed that fat babies get twice as many infections as slim babies. Another study demonstrated that the ability of white blood cells to fight infection is reduced in obese persons.
- Increase in other health problems: Gallstones, headaches, kidney problems, colon cancer – the risk of nearly all diseases goes up when you’re overfat. Medical studies show that leaner people live longer. Get lean for life and you’ll enjoy life longer.