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The Health Impacts of Obesity

The health impacts of obesity are to the mind and body, resulting in a lower quality of life. 

One study by the Rand Corporation shows that obesity has a higher link to chronic illnesses than living in poverty. The illness risk with obesity is much higher than smoking or drinking! 

In addition, annual obesity-related healthcare costs in the United States are nearly $150 billion. That’s about $460 per person in the U.S. National costs of obesity-related absenteeism are nearly $4 billion to more than $6 billion.  

Obesity is when your body has too much fat. People who weigh too much are more likely to have other diseases, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)

Obesity affects more than 600 million people worldwide. The U.S. has the highest average adult body mass index (BMI) of all high-income countries. By 2030, about half of the U.S. population could become obese.  

Weight loss can reduce some obesity-related risks. Losing as little as 5-10% of body weight offers health benefits to people who are obese, even later in life. 

The Health Impacts of Obesity and COVID-19 

Obesity also has an impact on getting, managing and surviving COVID-19. It can also affect the effectiveness of vaccines. 

When bodies get sick, the defense system is triggered, causing inflammation. The reaction is caused by white blood cells and the proteins they make. The blood cells attack the illness invader. After the risk is stopped, the inflammation goes away. 

The problem with obesity is that the same proteins from white blood cells are also released by fat cells. Research has found that having more fat cells can put the body in a constant state of inflammation. This reaction can disrupt metabolism and weaken immune response.  

The Centers for Disease Control said that excess weight increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization from the virus. 

In addition, Nature magazine reported that vaccines may not be as effective for people who are obese. Some officials are concerned the protection may not work at all on obese adults.  

As a result, it’s critically important to continue washing hands, wearing masks and practicing social distancing during the pandemic. That limits potential exposure. 

The Health Impacts of Obesity and Chronic Illness 

People who are obese or severely obese are about 10 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can nearly double the risk of death. 

According to the ASMBS, type 2 diabetes can also lead to amputations, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, high blood pressure, circulation and nerve defects, hard to heal infections, impotence and more.  

Obesity-related inflammation can make the body less responsive to insulin. Inflammation can lead to higher blood sugar levels by changing the way the body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates. 

The Health Impacts of Obesity and Mental Illness 

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, obesity is related to high rates of depression. Obesity and depression are linked. The study found obese people had a higher risk of depression. People who had depression had a higher risk of becoming obese.  

Health-related quality of life looks at the impact of conditions across physical, psychological and social functioning. Studies show that obesity was significantly associated with reduced health-related quality of life compared with normal weight for adults, children and teenagers. 

Weight-loss Surgery Can be Safer than Remaining Obese 

Surgical weight loss in obese patients with high blood pressure or uncontrolled diabetes can reverse chronic conditions, giving patients better health outcomes.  

According a National Institutes of Health symposium, patients who have weight loss surgery: 

  • Reduce their overall risk of death by 40% 
  • Reduce their risk of death related to diabetes by more than 90% 
  • Reduce their risk of death related to heart disease by more than 50% 

For information on how bariatric surgery can improve your life and what options are available, visit Surgical Healing Arts Center’s weight loss solutions