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Approximately one-third of all Americans over the age of 20 have a body mass index that is 30 or over which puts them in the category of being obese. The more obese an individual is, the greater are their chances of developing serious health conditions.
Mildly obese people (also sometimes referred to as regular obesity) whose BMI is 30 or more are at risk for weight related diseases, but not as much as morbidly obese people whose BMI is 40 or more. Those who fall into the category of malignant obesity and have a BMI of 50 or more are at the greatest risk. The more obese you are, the more chance you have of dying prematurely. You are twice as likely to succumb to an early death as compared to a person who is not obese.
Even those who gain a moderate amount of weight, which is considered to be 10 to 20 pounds for an individual of average height, are at a greater risk of dying earlier in their life. This is particularly the case for those who are 30 to 64 years of age.
Central Obesity as a Health Risk
Those who have central obesity which means that they have an overabundance of abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat) on their stomach and their abdominal region have a high risk of developing a disease that is connected to weight such as heart disease or insulin resistance syndrome.
Central obesity in women means that they have a waist circumference of 35 inches or more. For men, the dangerous number is 40 inches or more. In the same way, being aware of your waist-to-hip ratio is important. Some people have apple shaped bodies while others have pear shaped bodies. If the ratio for a woman is greater than 0.8 then they are apple shaped and are at a greater risk due to where their fat is distributed. A man with a waist-to-hip ratio of 1.0 or higher is an apple shaped and is also at a higher risk for health problems.
Other Health Risks Connected to Obesity
There is a greater risk of many difference types of heart disease when a person is overweight or obese. These include heart attack, congestive heart failure, angina, and sudden cardiac death. High blood pressure is also a very real concern. Obese individuals tend to have high triglycerides and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Obese people are more likely to sufferer strokes than are those who are not obese. Narrowing of the arteries is a medical condition called atherosclerosis which can bring about the development of an arterial blood clot. This is one of the more significant pre-conditions that characterizes the onset of a stroke.
Narrowing of the arteries can be helped along by smoking, having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol and living a sedentary lifestyle that includes little if any exercise. Obesity (and in particular morbid obesity) is often associated with having high blood pressure, an overabundance of bad (LDL) cholesterol, a diet high in fat consumption and very little physical activity. That is why obesity is considered one of the risk factors that often walk hand in hand with suffering a stroke.