Ask a woman what she wants to change about herself and, odds are, she will say she would like to lose some weight. We all seem to want to be a “dress size” smaller, but excessive body fat, or even being extremely underweight, can affect more than our appearance. It can cause other, more serious conditions. Extreme overweight or obesity is widely recognized as a serious health problem. Obesity threatens to reduce life expectancy from both chronic and acute diseases including cardiovascular disease, stroke, elevated cholesterol, cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
The explosion of type 2 diabetes over the past decade is perhaps the most serious consequence of obesity. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease, a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Studies have shown that eating a healthy diet may lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. It may even prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. A healthy diet can also be beneficial in relieving symptoms of menopause and may help slow bone mineral loss.
Pregnant women who do not control blood sugar are more prone to higher risks during their pregnancies, including gestational diabetes which increases the risk of having a very large baby and possible Cesarean Section. Up to one half of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Studies show that even a modest weight loss of 5-10% of actual body weight may have major health benefits. Our Registered Dietitian can guide you in making lifestyle changes to achieve better eating habits, tailor an individualized diet plan, set achievable goals, and incorporate fun, life-enhancing activities into busy lifestyles. Additionally, your own healthy lifestyle will reap benefits for your entire family as they also learn to avoid diet-related health conditions by seeing your good example and results.
Another relatively new tool in recognizing weight-related risks is the Body Composition Evaluation. This simple test using DXA (Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) technology measures visceral body fat. Visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat because these fat cells release proteins that contribute to inflammation, atherosclerosis, increased cholesterol, and hypertension.
Talk to your doctor about speaking with our dietitian if you have a BMI greater than 25, if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, are considering pregnancy, or any of the risk factors above. To compute your BMI, see the formula below (example 5.2 ft, 131 pounds BMI 24):
(Weight (in pounds) x 703) divided by (height (in inches) x height (in inches))
131 x 703=92,093
62 x 62 = 3,844