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Losing Weight Can Result in Big Health Gains

Overweight woman doing cardio workout on a treadmill in gym with her coach assisting and supporting her


It’s no secret that carrying extra weight can be harmful to your health. You’ve undoubtedly heard the about the dangers before. But it can’t be said often enough – those extra pounds come at a high price. It increases your risk for a multitude of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, high blood pressure and even death.

And yet, obesity is pervasive in American society. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of American adults are obese. Another third weigh more than is healthy. In addition to raising your risk for many diseases, being overweight can interfere with your ability to participate fully in life.

So, what’s the upside? Most people can benefit from a weight loss program, which may include exercise and making healthier dietary choices. Here’s just a few ways you may gain when you choose to lose.

You’ll lower your risk for many diseases

According to the CDC, obesity increases your risk for numerous diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Some cancers, including breast, colon, kidney and liver
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mental illness, including depression and anxiety

Cutting the weight can, in many cases, immediately reduce your risk for these diseases.

 You’ll lower your risk of injury

Not only does carrying extra pounds increase your risk of disease, it increases your risk of injury. A study conducted by Ohio State University showed that 26 percent of obese men reported injuries over the course of a year, compared to 17 percent of normal-weight men. Nearly 22 percent of obese women experienced injuries, compared to 12 of their normal-weight counterparts. Underweight participants had the fewest number of injuries. Overexertion and falls were the most common injuries reported.

Your memory may improve

According to a several studies, losing weight may improve your memory. In one study, obese people were divided into two groups – one group had gastric bypass surgery, the other didn’t. After 12 weeks, both groups took a set of memory tastes, similar to ones taken before the study began. The surgery patients, who lost an average of 50 pounds, showed improvement in a number of cognitive abilities, including memory. Those who had not had the surgery showed a mild decline in memory. Additionally, obesity has been shown to be one of the risk factors in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

You’ll save money

According to the CDC, a person who is obese has medical costs $1,429 higher per year than someone who maintains a normal weight. Obesity can increase the cost of both health and life insurance. People who are overweight earn less, pay more for clothing, spend more on food, and lose more wages due to sickness, disability and absenteeism. According the US Department of Health Policy, overall, an obese man racks up an average of $2,646 annually in extra expenses. Obesity costs women an average of $4,879 annually.

You’ll sleep better

Obesity raises your risk factor for sleep disorders, including apnea, one of the most serious. Sleep disorders generally result in a lack of restful sleep, which produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry. The hungrier you are, the more you eat, which, in turn, decreases your chance of having a good night’s sleep – a viscous cycle.

You’ll have more energy

Those extra pounds makes it harder for your heart to get blood to every part of your body and for your body to move extra pounds from Point A to Point B. Just imagine having to carry a 30-pound sack of flour around all day and you’ll understand what we mean. Shedding those pounds means your body doesn’t have to work so hard, freeing up all kinds of energy – to play ball with the kids, to exercise more, to do whatever your heart desires!

Categories: Healthy Aging