Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women and obesity

Obesity, or too much body fat, is a chronic disease that is a health threat for women at every stage of life. Obesity is linked as a contributing factor to serious health conditions. As the prevalence of obesity has grown significantly, obesity has become the second largest cause of preventable death in the United States, following tobacco. Today's children and young adults are on track to mature into the most obese generation in US history, creating pressure on the health care system to deal with fat related disease.

As much as we like fast food, it will cause weight gain. Salts cause water weight gain giving that bloated feeling. Your body will breakdown the fat using what it needs for cellular energy and growth while the rest will be distributed and stored. American obesity has been linked scientifically to the typical American diet that is high in fats, salt and sugar. Sodas and juices are high sugary and acidic drinks. The acid will weaken and strip away tooth enamel. The sugar is empty calories and will essentially cause hunger and crave more sugar.

As women age, our metabolisms slow, hormone levels fluctuate and energy decreases. Lack of regular exercise and a sedentary lifestyle will cause weight gain. If we don't keep our eating habits in check and make the right food choices, packing on the pounds is easy to do. Having the "I just don't care" "I've always been heavy" "I've tried to lose the weight but can't" way of thought is self-defeating. Don't make the possible seem impossible. The first step in losing weight is to believe you can. Otherwise, the lackadaisical attitude will keep you on the merry-go-round of mood changes and health risk. A positive attitude toward food choices and exercise will help maintain a healthy weight.

Unhealthy diets and obesity will lead to:

Obstetric and Gynecologic Complications
Cholecystitis and pancreatitis
Sleep apnea
Type 2 Diabetes (NIDDM)
BReast Cancer
Low back pain, arthritis

Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and complicates management. The presence of obesity exacerbates metabolic abnormalities of diabetes including hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and dyslipidemia. Obesity also increases insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

The risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular disease is increased with the coexistence of obesity and type 2 diabetes increasing morbidity and mortality. Body weights 20-30% above the ideal have mortality rates 2.5 to 3.3 times higher than for those of normal weight with type 2 diabetes!

Given all the scientific evidence and what we know, the percentage of overweight and obese Americans remains at an all time high. Making healthy food choices, incorporating exercise and living an overall healthy lifestyle is wiser and safer than choosing a life with a high risk health threat.

Good health,

TrIsha M. Pacenti RN, BSN