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Health Effects of Being Overweight

Aug 17, 2007
It's an undeniable fact that, as a nation, Americans are overweight. In fact, sixty five percent of adults are fat - that's over 127 million people. Not only that, but about 300,000 deaths a year and about $300 billion a year is attributed to obesity.

Quite simply, obesity is an excess of body fat. Normally, anyone who is 20 percent over their normal weight for their age, sex, height and build is considered obese.

Recent studies reveal that obesity is linked to very high rates of chronic diseases. As fat accumulates in the body, it crowds the space for our organs. This extra fat can result in putting undue stress on the body including the back, legs and the internal organs like the heart, liver and kidneys.

This can eventually lead to more serious health conditions including:

Diabetes

Coronary artery disease

High blood pressure

Stroke

Kidney disease

Colon cancer

Breast cancer

Liver disease

Complications during pregnancy

One of the primary reasons for obesity is a lack of exercise. Including some form of exercise in your routine everyday can help you to lose weight and improve your overall health.

Some of the benefits of exercise include:

Strengthening your bones

Protecting you from Osteoporosis

Reducing your risk of heart disease

Lowering high blood pressure

Lowering high cholesterol

Protecting you from breast cancer and other types of cancers

While exercise is only one factor in the equation for losing extra body fat, eating healthy, well-balanced meals is the other half of the equation for losing weight.

When planning your meals keep the following guidelines in mind:

1) Drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. Water helps to flush toxins and fat out of the body and despite making you feel bloated, water does not make you overweight.

2) Eat a diet abundant in vegetables - particularly dark green vegetables. Be sure to include vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and salads. Additionally, other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and winter squash should be included as well.

3) Eat lean proteins such as chicken breast and turkey. Lean red meats should be eaten sparingly. Also, other protein rich foods should be emphasized in your diet including: fish, beans, peas, lentils, seeds and nuts.

4) Pay particular attention to fats in your diet. Oils such as Olive oil and Canola oil should be emphasized and fats from butter, margarine, ice-cream, mayonnaise and dressings should be avoided.

5) Eat calcium rich foods such as green, leafy vegetables and low-fat dairy such as yogurt and cheese.

Foods that should be avoided when you are trying to lose excess body weight include:

Pies

Cookies

Pastries

Most sweets

Sodas

Potatoes

Rice

Pasta

Finding the right balance between healthy foods and physical activity should be an important part of any weight loss goal that you have. If you are overweight and exercise, but don't eat healthily, or if you eat healthily and don't exercise you may not achieve your weight loss goal. Becoming healthy means losing any excess weight that you might have and moderating your body weight by balancing the calories you take in with the calories that you use each day.
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