“Obesity is serious because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life.”
On a business call with a number of various other health professionals recently, the speaker gave a short run down on what the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to say about overweight and obesity.
I've got to say, of all the health issues, discussion around weight is by far one of the most touchy subjects out there. For some, it's even a trigger and they shut down, tune out and the walls go up.
And yet the problems surrounding weight in our society haven't diminished. In fact, they've grown and at the current rate, some experts caution our health care systems soon won't be able to handle all that comes from being overweight or obese. So even though this many be an uncomfortable topic, it's an important one that needs addressing.
Before I get into some of the illness associated with, and/or caused by overweight and obesity, here are a few interesting facts around weight that I pulled from the CDC's website:
• Genes do play a role in obesity but genetic changes in human populations occur too slowly to be responsible for the obesity epidemic.
• Obesity is also associated with the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide
• Obesity is serious because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life.
The reduced quality of life is one that everyone should be concerned about.
I've often had conversations with people about the fact our DNA suggests we are designed to live well past the age of 100. More often than not, when people hear this they react in horror, saying something like, “No way! I don't want to live that long!”
When I ask why, it's always the same answer. People assume that those years will be fraught with illness, disease, cognitive decline and just an overall reduced or non-existent quality of life.
What they don't realize is, that isn't how it has to be. No matter where we are in our health journey at the moment, each one of us can do things that will help improve our health and by default, increase or extend quality of life. That's why, even though it can be an uncomfortable subject, it really is important to talk about weight and how it relates to our overall health.
I believe achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the biggest things anyone can do to improve health. And when done in a way that focuses on creating health in the body, as opposed to a quick-fix, let's-try-this-latest-diet idea, significant improvements will not only be seen and felt rather quickly, but results are more likely to be maintained.
How you achieve your weight goals should also be how you keep those results. After all, if it's not something you feel good about doing and can do for life, why even get started? Yes? Or yes.
Let's take a look at what aspects of our health and our lives are affected by carrying around excess weight. According to the CDC's website under the heading, “Consequences for Obesity” and the subheading, “Health Consequences,” people who have obesity, compared to those with a healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following: all cause of death, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia), Type 2 Diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint), Sleep apnea, Breathing problems, Low quality of life, Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety and other mental disorders, Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning. Quite the list isn't it?
And if that weren't enough, under the sub-heading, “Economic and Societal Consequences” it reads, “...Indirect costs relate to sickness and death and include lost productivity. Productivity measures include employees being absent from work for obesity-related health reasons, decreased productivity while at work, and premature death and disability.”
It's that last part that really hits home. That's the point I'm trying to make. As a health professional and a coach, it's part of my job to say what people need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear, and then help them find a solution to take back control and live their best health.
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This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.