Everywhere we look in western world we are inundated with pictures, images, icons and inferences of 'perfect' female shape! The truth is that many of these images are altered or enhanced in some way and do not depict typical female form. The pressure to lose weight is immense when we are bombarded every day with media selling products based on slimness, sex appeal and fashion. The constant message is that slimness will make you desireable.
With current demographic trends in western countries, and faced with a sea of high fat, high sugar combined with physical inactivity; it is time to pay attention to our weight but not for any reasons of desirability. The most important reason for wanting to be a healthy body weight is for health rather than for how your body looks.
Overweight and obesity are major public health problems in western countries. Since 1980s both adult men and women have become heavier, with obesity rates more than doubling in last 20 years! Children are also becoming heavier. There is a growing concern that we are inadvertently training our overweight children to become obese adults. It has been said, we are digging our graves with out teeth! So just why should we be concerned with achieving a healthy body weight?
Overweight linked with diabetes.
In January 2003, Journal of American Medical Association featured two studies that highlighted topic of obesity and its impact on health. The first study focused on relationship between obesity and diabetes, as well as growing concern of diabetes in U.S. between years 2000 and 2001. The numbers don't look good, with an alarming 5.6% increase of obesity in both men and women-from all ethnic groups, age ranges and educational levels. The occurrence of diabetes also increased-up 8.2% from 2000.
Overweight linked with premature death.
The second study found that obesity appears to markedly lessen life expectancy, especially among young adults. The researchers compared Body-Mass Index (BMI) to longevity and found a correlation between premature death and higher BMIs. For example, a 20-year-old white male, 5'10" weighing 288 pounds with a BMI of greater than 40 was estimated to lose 13 years of his life as a result of obesity. Findings were similar for women with higher BMIs, who were estimated to lose an average of eight years. While these studies reference extreme levels of obesity, there are still millions of overweight people in developed countries with a life expectancy rate that is three to five years less than their healthy-weight counterparts. Overweight linked with heart disease.