A study shows that maintaining one’s ideal weight decreases the risk of death.
Medical practitioners are alarmed on the rise of overweight and obese Americans. Obesity has been considered an epidemic in the United States and worldwide. An article published in the Food Research and Action Center website revealed that the obesity rate in the U.S. has increased more than twice since the 1970s. The same report showed that, in 2014, 68.5 percent U.S. adults were overweight or obese while 34.9 percent were obese.
Meanwhile, the global obesity rate more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. In 2014, about 39 percent (around 1.9 billion) of the world’s adult population, while 13 percent (around 600 million) of them were obese.
Aside from having an “out of shape” body, obesity is a condition that breeds a constellation of diseases, the most popular of which are:
- Heart diseases and stroke, the leading causes of death in 2012
- Muscle and joint disorders (such as osteoarthritis)
- Cancers such as endometrial, breast, and colon
With their inclination to the diseases above, obese adults have a higher risk of dying than those with normal body mass index (BMI). In a Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study, the risk of dying of obese people (whose BMI fall between 30 and 34.9) is 1.2 times higher. Meanwhile, it is 1.3 times higher for severely obese (a BMI of 35 and higher).
Underweight are at risk too
Just as obesity increases the risk of a person’s death, people who are extremely slim (BMI under 18.5 or less) have 1.8 times higher risk of dying. This figure is even higher than obese individuals, making underweight deadlier than overweight.
Like obesity, being underweight results to health problems. Here are some of the most likely diseases resulting from being underweight:
- Lower immunity to infections
- Bone problems, such as osteoporosis, due to lack of calcium
- Anemia due to lack of iron in the diet
- Fertility problems in women
Common causes of obesity and extreme slimness
Being overweight and underweight are mainly caused by the following:
Psychological issues. Modern living breeds physical and psychological pressures that result in severe stress. If not managed well, stress may lead to psychological problems, such as depression and different neuroses that largely contribute to eating more or less. Stress and depression also result to eating disorders, such as binge eating (which leads to obesity) and anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (which lead to extreme slimness).
Minimal or excessive physical activities. The way we use our body generally reflects the kind of body we have. Those who are physically inactive are most likely to be overweight and obese, while those who are engaging in extreme physical activity are mostly underweight.
Genetics. Being overweight and underweight runs in the family. Your metabolism is mainly dependent on whether your parents and genetic lineage.
Hormone imbalance. Hormones play a major role in regulating body processes such as metabolism. Hormone imbalance may result in too much or too less secretion of hormones that could result in physical changes including weight gain of weight loss.
Some tips for achieving ideal weight
As we have seen above, both obesity and extreme slimness takes a toll on our health and our longevity. To achieve normal weight, we have to embrace a new, healthier lifestyle by adding the activities below to our daily routine:
Meditate and relax. Stress is a primary culprit for disrupting our eating habits. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi and other relaxation techniques will help our bodies and minds cope with the harmful effects of stress. These stress reduction techniques will train your mind and body to better manage stress.
Engage in moderate daily exercise routine. Exercise is a must for healthy living. But to benefit from it, we have to practice it in moderation. Too much and too less exercise will bring problems to your body.
Eat healthy foods. Foods should nourish us with nutrients to sustain and prolong life. But many of the foods we consume today have insufficient nutritional value. Some of them, such as those with excessive sugar content and processed foods, increases body weight and body fat.
Consult with your physician regularly. Let us face it, no matter how much we self-medicate, there is still no substitute for a licensed and qualified doctor. There are certain conditions in your body that could only be addressed using specialized therapies such as bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy for those with hormone imbalance. Elderly patients might need hormonal replacement therapy to aid in losing or gaining weight.
Tony Miller is a health and fitness blogger. He regularly contributes to the fitness and wellness blog, Wellness Central.