By Dr. Mercola
Obesity is a growing concern in the United States; overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents. This increases the number of years that they are exposing themselves to dangerous health risks associated with obesity.
Here are 20 diseases or conditions that can be attributed to obesity:
- Diabetes, a disorder where the pancreas is not producing enough or sometimes not any insulin. Diabetes can lead to a whole host of other medical issues and obesity is one of the main causes.
- Cancer has many different forms and types; many of them could be prevented with more attention to eating healthily and avoiding obesity.
- Congestive heart failure is a condition in which your heart can't pump enough blood to your body's other organs.
- Enlarged heart is another heart condition where the muscle of your heart becomes larger due to being overworked, which naturally happens if you are overweight.
- Pulmonary embolism is a sometimes fatal blockage of an artery. Being overweight causes most people to reduce activity, and after time, lack of activity can result in an embolism.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which cysts develop in your ovaries. These can burst, causing even further problems.
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease happens when stomach acid and juices flow from your stomach back up into your esophagus. It is common in overweight people.
- Fatty liver disease is a reversible condition in which large pockets of fat accumulate in liver cells.
- A hernia is caused when the hole in the diaphragm weakens and enlarges.
- Erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop or maintain an erection, which can be caused by a medical problem due to obesity.
- Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination. It is frequently associated with obesity, weak bladder, and pelvic floor muscles
- Chronic renal failure, meaning your kidneys fail to work, is a much greater risk to those who are overweight or obese.
- Lymph edema is a condition that occurs from a damaged or dysfunctional lymphatic system, sometimes caused by people suffering from obesity actually crushing their own lymphatics.
- Cellulitis is a spreading infection, involving both the dermis and subcutaneous skin tissues, resulting from poor lymph flow caused by obesity.
- Stroke is caused by a lack of blood supply to your brain.
- Pickwickian syndrome is characterized by sleep apnea resulting from obesity placing an excessive load on your pulmonary system.
- Depression is a condition where a person feels miserable constantly, even to the point of being suicidal. It can be worse for someone who also has a weight problem.
- Osteoarthritis is a clinical syndrome in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in your joints. It is caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage, oftentimes due to obesity.
- Gout occurs when uric acid accumulates in your blood. Nerve endings then become irritated, causing extreme pain, which is made worse by carrying extra weight.
- Gallbladder disease commonly affects overweight people as a result of high blood cholesterol levels, which cause gall stones.
According to a Surgeon General report, obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year in the United States.
Your body is designed to operate best when it's at an ideal weight. Carrying around extra pounds will inevitably increase your risk of developing just about every chronic degenerative disease known to man, and seeing some of them listed above gives you an idea of just how many -- and how far-reaching the problems can be.
That said, obesity itself is not the underlying cause of any health problem. The underlying cause is usually an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise leading to increased insulin and leptin levels, and an overload of emotional stress that has not been addressed. These are the things that cause our bodies to become overweight or obese… and the cycle continues from there.
This is an urgent problem given that two-thirds of the U.S. population is already overweight, and a recent study found it's possible that every American adult could be overweight by 2048.
Even though obesity has been named the fastest-growing health threat in the United States, most people don't want to lose weight to get healthy.
They want to lose weight for aesthetic purposes, or to look better, and this is fine if it gets you to the ultimate goal. Maintaining a healthy body weight is about so much more than looking good in a bikini -- it's about having more energy, fighting disease, protecting your heart, and, above all else, choosing a lifestyle that will support your entire body and your health.
Losing Weight Takes a Three-Pronged Approach
I've said this before, but it's important so I'll say it again: there is no "magic pill" that will make you lose weight (although researchers did recently come out with an exercise pill, if you can believe that!).
Weight gain is obviously influenced by many factors, but the two that everyone keeps coming back to -- diet and exercise -- are still the major players in my mind. Combine a healthy diet with exercise -- and be sure you are addressing the emotional component of food, eating, and weight gain -- and most people WILL lose weight.
Making up your mind to do it is half the battle (in fact, it's probably 99 percent of the battle for many), and this is why tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. They help you to nip emotional eating in the bud by dealing with your feelings at the energetic level and creating a new relationship with food.
That is one step in the weightloss equation. From there, it's just a matter of changing your lifestyle in the following ways:
1. Tailor your diet to your nutritional type. These are the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein, or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).
Eating right for your nutritional type is not a "diet." In fact, if you still feel hungry after eating, you are definitely not eating according to your nutritional type. There is no food deprivation, no counting calories, and definitely no starving yourself -- just eating plenty of healthy foods that are right for you.
2. View exercise as a drug. When you're trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that. Sometimes you may need even up to 90 minutes of aerobic activity every day.
There is also strong compelling evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss.
So there you have it: eat right, exercise, and release your stress -- and that is typically all it takes. I am not suggesting that weight loss is easy, only that it is something you can accomplish if you put your mind to it, and this may mean getting some outside support.
If you would like some extra support and guidance in this matter, you can check out my Natural Health website for helpful articles related to weight management. Those of you in other areas who need weight loss support and other resources can look for a holistic health care practitioner who specializes in weight loss in your area. You may also check out www.Mercola.com and share your weight loss challenges and successes with like-minded people.