The burden of excess; the majority of Americans underestimate what those excess pounds are doing to their health.
“Obesity is linked to worsening of several major health conditions,” says Arlene Wright, nurse practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.
Seventy-five percent of people surveyed recognized the link between weight and heart disease, and even connected the rise in obesity with diabetes.
“The major risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes is gaining weight, particularly if you have that genetic predisposition for developing it,” says Sharon Krispinski, certified diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.
Fewer than 10% of people questioned mentioned cancer, although doctors long have thought fat may trigger production of hormones that increase the risk and growth of some cancers.
“Obesity, I think, has been known for a long time as one of many risk factors for breast cancer. Women that have had breast cancer may have a higher risk of recurrence if they don’t keep a low fat diet and keep an ideal body weight,” says Dr. William Harwin, oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
The heavyweight health implications don’t end there. What no one surveyed mentioned is the link to infertility- both may be related to poor egg quality and ovulation. It is no surprise though that as the scale tips higher; so does the sheer number of medical problems.
“Diseases like arthritis, acid reflex, fatty liver, sleep apnea- so weight loss in general actually helps a multitude of medical conditions,” says Wright.
Including the huge jump in the number of joint replacement surgeries. Knowing the growing number of ways obesity affects us, could help motivate people to get smart and slim down.