Globally, the prevalence of obesity and overweight has been on a steady rise in the last few decades. Arguably, this ugly trend has been largely due to sedentary lifestyles as well as unhealthful dietary habits that many of us now indulge.
Fast foods are fast replacing our natural fresh, nutrient-rich diets while the advent of computers/internet and automobiles courtesy of modern technology would make us sit all day with little or no room for exercise. However, it is worthy of mention that obesity and overweight pose significant risks to our health as they are associated with myriads of life-threatening disease conditions including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancers and coronary artery disease just to mention a few.
A recent estimate have shown that about 250 million people worldwide are obese while over 500 million more people are probably overweight. According to the American Journal of Public Health, about 27% of deaths among overweight or obese women are associated with obesity. On the contrary, the benefits of healthy weight loss cannot be overemphasized. A modest weight loss of 5-10% has been associated with a considerable reduction in the entire risk profile of obesity.
In view of the above, here are some potential benefits you will derive from burning some fat and staying fit:
1. Decreased Risk of Cardiovascular Problems
Fortunately, a modest weight loss of 5-10% has been positively correlated with a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events like hypertension, heart attack, stroke and obesity-associated cardiomyopathies. Studies have shown that overweight and obesity account for about 25-30% of the cases of hypertension and that a reduction of 5mmHg in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures can be achieved by simply losing 5-10% of body weight. In the same vein, a modest weight loss helps to normalize your cholesterol levels by increasing the level of HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing the level of LDL and triglycerides (bad cholesterol). These effects have been shown to protect the heart. From the foregoing, it is obvious that you need to start considering shedding some weight in order to cut down your risk of suffering from a cardiovascular condition since they are better prevented than managed.
2. Decreased Risk of Diabetes
Excessive weight is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. This is because accumulated fat renders body tissues resistant to the actions of insulin, a phenomenon aptly described as insulin resistance. As a result, glucose levels rise in the blood and it cannot be utilized by the body cells and tissues. However, studies have shown that obese individuals significantly lessen their risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus when they lose up to 5-10% of their body weight. Similarly, it was discovered that those who already had type 2 diabetes had better glycaemic control with medications after losing some weight.
3. Decreased Risk of Cancers
Obesity has been associated with different kinds of cancers especially endometrial, breast, prostate, oesophageal, colon and gallbladder cancers among others. A study revealed that in 2007, about 34000 new cases of cancer and 50500 new cases recorded among men and women respectively in the United States were attributable to obesity. Understandably, a reduction in weight has been associated with decreased incidence of these cancers. For instance, a research analysis found that if every adult would reduce their Body Mass Index by 1%, about 100000 new cases of cancer would have been averted.
4. Less Respiratory Problems
Weight loss has the benefit of reducing your risk of respiratory conditions like Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, bronchial asthma and respiratory infections which are more common among obese individuals. A study revealed that a modest weight loss of 10% improved sleep patterns and reduced daytime somnolence among people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
5. Less Osteoarthritis and Back Pain
Increased incidence of osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain has been observed among obese individuals. A study noted that especially among obese black and Hispanic women, osteoarthritis of the knee resulted in a substantial reduction of quality-adjusted life years. Fortunately, it has been shown that when you shed some weight, your risk of osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain is significantly reduced.
6. Less Risk of Reproductive Problems
Reproductive problems such as infertility, erectile dysfunction, foetal macrosomia (big baby) and stillbirth have been observed to be more common among obese individuals than their counterparts with normal weight. Obesity may lead to derangements in the female reproductive hormones which can impair a woman’s fertility. Furthermore, fat cells produce substances that lead to inflammation and plaque buildup within blood vessels, a process known as atherosclerosis. This may block the blood vessels supplying the penis and lead to erectile dysfunction that may also result in male-factor infertility.