Fifteen Ways Obesity Hurts Your Health, but You Ignore It

2013-01-07 12:04

Most Americans know that their excess weight is harming their health, but a new survey indicates that many are not aware of just how many ways obesity is detrimental to the body. Being overweight not only contributes to heart disease and diabetes (admittedly, two of the biggest problems due to extra poundage), but can cause a whole host of other conditions that are purely preventable.

By now, you have heard that the majority of US citizens are now considered overweight or obese. Two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of all children and teens carry too much weight to be considered ideal for optimal health. "Obesity is one of the most challenging health crises this country has ever faced," says Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health. "Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate higher than 15 percent. Now, only Colorado is below 20 percent."

However, when asked to list the consequences of overweight and obesity, 7 in 10 Americans surveyed through The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research cannot list more than the big two – cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Only about 52% of those surveyed have had a discussion with their doctor about their weight status and the risks involved with not taking action to lose weight. Only 12% of parents have that same discussion with a pediatrician regarding their overweight children.

"People are often shocked to hear how far-reaching the effects of obesity are," said Jennifer Dimitriou, a bariatric dietitian at New York's Montefiore Medical Center.

Head to Toe – Here is What Obesity Can Do to Your Health

Dementia – Obesity can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 80% according to a 2008 study found in the May issue of Obesity Reviews. In this study, US researchers evaluated the results of 10 international studies covering just over 37,000 people in five countries and found that being overweight increased the risk of dementia substantially because of decreased blood supply to the brain. Thankfully, starting now to eat right and exercise can reduce this risk.


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