Health Risks of Being Overweight

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Being overweight is never a good idea and usually entails being sick in some way or the other. Initially, it might not seem to be a big deal, but the chances of developing problems increase with time. How will you know when your weight is ‘too much’ and your health is at risk? All you have to do is determine two numbers: your waist size and your Body Mass Index (BMI).

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Knowing your BMI can help you determine if you are of normal weight, overweight, or obese. It helps in measuring your weight in relation to your height and provides a score to place you in one of the 3 categories:

  • Normal weight: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI of 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30 or higher

Waist Size

Waist size is another important number that will play a big role in determining your health condition. Too much fat around the waist can be an indication of your chances of developing obesity-related illnesses.


The benchmark waist size for men is 40 inches while for women, it is 35 inches. Anything more than that is related to a higher risk of suffering from diseases.

Here are some health risks that come with being overweight:

1.    High blood pressure

Is being overweight linked to high blood pressure? Yes, it is. Your heart pumps blood through your arteries to every part of your body every single time it beats. Blood pressure is basically how hard the blood pushes the artery walls with every pump. Having a large body size will make your heart work harder than it should. It has to pump blood harder to make sure it reaches every cell in your body. The pressure created inside each artery increases a lot. 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal blood pressure. If the top number (systolic) crosses 140 mm Hg or the bottom number (diastolic) crosses 90 mm Hg, it is known as high blood pressure that can result in other illnesses.

2.    Diabetes mellitus

Also known as Type 2 Diabetes, it has been known to result in heart diseases, stroke, kidney disease, amputation, and blindness. Even though genes and family history play a huge role in type 2 diabetes, poor diet, low to no level of activity, excess body weight also play a part in the initiation of this disease. More than 87% of adults with diabetes mellitus are overweight or obese. Being overweight sometimes changes cells making them resistant to insulin which results in type 2 diabetes.

3.    Heart diseases

Heart diseases include anything from sudden cardiac death, heart failure, heart attack, angina (chest pain), abnormal heart rhythm, etc. Sometimes due to being overweight, the blood vessels become hard and narrow as a result of which carrying blood to and from the heart becomes problematic.


Cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels tend to shoot up when you are overweight or obese. These then affect your heart health and result in complications, even death.

4.    Breathing problems

It is no surprise that overweight or obese people get winded very quickly while engaging in the simplest of activities. It is because the lungs cannot expand fully due to all that fat in the body and the breathing muscles don’t work properly. It can worsen already existing problems like asthma and COPD. Overweight and obese people tend to have more fat stored around their necks that makes the airway smaller. These people then start to suffer from sleep apnea (one or more pauses in breathing during sleep). It then leads to daytime sleepiness, difficulty in focusing, and even heart failure.

5.    Cancer

Overweight and obese adults are more at risk of suffering from several cancers in breasts, kidney, endometrium, and rectum.

6.    Fatty liver Disease

When fat builds up in your liver, it leads to cirrhosis and can shut down your liver eventually. Overweight or obese people are more at risk of suffering from fatty liver disease, also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

7.    Osteoarthritis

When you put on more weight, it puts more strain on your joints and cartilage that makes them wear away faster. If you already suffer from vitamin D deficiency, it adds to the risk factor and fastens up the wearing away of the cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones at a joint, preventing friction). Being overweight or obese also causes inflammation and leads to osteoarthritis.

  • Pregnancy Problems

Overweight pregnant women are more at risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. It also increases risk during delivery of the baby. Too much weight gain can affect both mother and baby negatively.

You can resort to various weight loss products but the best thing is to keep it in check from the beginning by:

  •  Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Opting for whole-grain options like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal over unrefined grain options like white rice, pasta, and bread
  • Including lean proteins like seafood, peas and beans, nuts, soy, and lean meats in your diet

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