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Why Obesity Brings More Health Risks Than Being Overweight—and What You Can Do About It

Obesity is a national concern. America ranks as the 12th most obese country globally, although it is number 1 in high-income nations. More than 2 out of 5 adults fall under the obese category, proving the country has an obesity epidemic. Moreover, 19 states recorded obesity rates of over 35% in 2022, up from 16 states in 2021.
This proves how more people are becoming obese, with the population that’s at the highest risk for obesity being those already overweight. Such a thing should be of great concern, as obesity brings a lot of health risks. To find out why this is so and how you can prevent obesity, keep reading below:

Why Obesity Brings More Health Risks Than Being Overweight

Many people may use the words “obesity” and “overweight” interchangeably. While both pertain to having excess weight, they’re two different things. Obesity vs overweight is determined by a person’s body mass index (BMI), which measures their weight compared to their height. A BMI that reaches 30 or above is considered obese, while a BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 is overweight—also called pre-obesity.

Unlike being overweight, obesity is classified as a chronic disease by the WHO and American Medical Association because it changes how your body normally functions and may even lead to dangerous health conditions. This is because the extra fat makes it harder for the body to regulate blood sugar and raises inflammation. Due to this, there are over 200 obesity-associated conditions, including heart disease, depression and anxiety, stroke, and sleep apnea. If left untreated or unaddressed, these diseases may turn fatal.
Fortunately, there are still effective ways to prevent obesity as an overweight person or otherwise. Here are a few:

What You Can Do to Prevent Obesity

Increase your physical activity

Regular exercise is an effective way to burn excess calories. However, people close to the obesity threshold should increase their physical activity levels to burn as many calories as possible. This ensures you eliminate all the extra calories that would otherwise be stored as fat, contributing to further weight gain.

One way to increase your physical activity is to constantly burn belly fat at home, so exercising is not limited to the gym. For example, you could try replacing your desk chair or armchair with a stability ball. This will strengthen your core, back, and legs while getting rid of extra calories. It can help you burn an additional 100 calories daily, boosting your weight loss results.

Reduce your stress levels

Stress is a significant contributor to obesity. It causes people to overeat due to the release of several hormones, including cortisol and ghrelin. Cortisol increases your appetite and motivation, including your motivation to eat. Meanwhile, ghrelin—the hunger hormone—may also be triggered by this. As a result, your body craves comfort food that is usually high in fat and sugar. Only after you eat these foods do your body dampen stress-related emotions and reactions.

Therefore, find a healthy way to reduce stress or at least avoid overeating and consuming unhealthy food. You can go for a walk, try painting, or meditate to give your mind and body other things to focus on besides eating.

People who are obese are at risk of many health conditions. If you’re overweight or simply want to avoid reaching obesity, increase your physical activity and reduce your stress levels, in addition to proper dieting.

Author

  • Sarah Johnson

    Sarah Johnson is a registered dietitian with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from the University of California, Davis and a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Washington. With over 8 years of experience in the nutrition field, Sarah is an expert in weight management, chronic disease prevention, and overall health and wellness. As an author at FitGAG, she shares her knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including nutrition plans, healthy recipes, and overall health and wellness tips.

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