Obesity: What it is, how it hurts you

Special to the NNPA from The Atlanta Voice

(NNPA)- The terms “overweight” and “obesity” refer to body weight that’s greater than what is considered healthy for a certain height.

Millions of Americans and people worldwide are overweight or obese, a condition that puts them at risk for many health problems. The more body fat that you have and the more you weigh, the more likely you are to develop: Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, low energy, stroke and cancer, among other ailments.Your weight is the result of many factors. These factors include environment, family history and genetics, inactive lifestyle, metabolism (the way your body changes food and oxygen into energy), behavior or eating habits, and more.

You can’t change some factors, such as family history. However, you can change other factors, such as your lifestyle habits.

For example, follow a healthy eating plan and keep your calorie needs in mind. Be physically active and try to limit the amount of time that you’re inactive.

Reaching and staying at a healthy weight is a long-term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it also is a chance to lower your risk for other serious health problems. With the right treatment and motivation, it’s possible to lose weight and lower your long-term disease risk.

Statistics show that 82 percent of black women and 70 percent of black men are obese or overweight, compared to 64 percent of white women and 74 percent of white men. Black children also are significantly more likely to be obese or overweight, research shows.

Successful weight-loss treatments include setting goals and making lifestyle changes, such as eating fewer calories and being physically active. These include:

Try to lose 5 to 10 percent of your current weight over 6 months. This will lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and other conditions.

Reduce your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day (to lose weight, women should try to take in no more than 1,200 calories a day; men should cap their calorie intake at 1,600 a day).

Create and follow a healthy eating plan that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar. Focus on fat-free and low-fat dairy products, protein foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Get off the couch, turn off the TV and engage in physical activity to strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles, boost your energy, help you manage stress, give you a more restful sleep, give you a higher sense of well being. This also will lower your risk for heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, and cancer.

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