Earlier this month we shared that June is Men’s Health Awareness month, but you know us, we care about everyone’s health. One thing that is affecting millions of men, women, and children worldwide? Obesity. And the U.S. is leading the way.
One-third of the world’s population is overweight. That’s 2.2 billion people. (OMG.) In America, 13 percent of children and adults are obese, which makes it the number one country in the world for this health epidemic.
This brings us to an important point — the conversation about weight and body composition has nothing to do with how a person looks and everything to do with a person’s health. Obesity can be the root of several health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease — which are two of the top 10 killers of both U.S. men and women.
Translation: Obesity isn’t a joke. (You hear that Dave Chappelle?)
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because first things first.
Obesity versus being overweight
Remember how you learned in freshman geometry that a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square?
Well, along those same lines, you can be overweight but not obese. But if you’re obese, you are also overweight.
We can explain.
Everyone has a Body Mass Index. Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. A person is considered overweight if their BMI is 30 or above. A person is considered obese if their BMI is 40 or higher.
While both terms are closely associated, obesity and overweight are not interchangeable — but they both can be dangerous to your health.
It’s important to note that BMI is a screening tool — it’s not diagnostic. Doctors monitor your BMI, but must also specifically assess other areas of your health to determine your overall health status and any potential risks.
So, what’s the big deal?
Lower levels of physical activity, increased consumption of processed and unnatural foods, higher levels of urbanization (i.e. city life) are all contributing factors to the obesity epidemic in America and around the world. Being overweight may seem like it’s becoming a “norm,” but it can have dangerous effects on your health and your wallet.
How dangerous? We’ll give it to you straight —obesity can literally cost you your life. That’s a pretty big deal.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study in which they observed the effects of obesity and being overweight over the course of 125 years in 195 countries. Four million of the people studied died as a result of high BMIs. (!!!) And guess what? Almost 40 percent of the 4 million people who died were not yet considered “obese,” meaning that harmful health effects begin just by being overweight.
As for your pocketbook? Heart disease and stroke cost America roughly $1 billion per day in medical costs and lost productivity. (Cardiovascular diseases are largely preventable and being overweight increases your heart health risk.)
These are just some examples of how obesity impacts your physical and fiscal health.
What You Can Do
- Schedule an appointment with you doctor to get a BMI and an overall health assessment.
- With the help of a medical professional, proactively address any health issues you may have — with treatment and/or lifestyle changes.
- Work to maintain or achieve a healthy weight with the help of your doctor.
- Eat healthily.
- Exercise and be active. (This means getting up from your desk from time-to-time. We may just be sitting ourselves to death!)
- Don’t neglect your mental health. Sometimes overeating and/or physical issues are manifestations of emotional ones. Seeking help from a licensed professional can help you begin your proactive journey to better overall health.
Whether you’re healthy as a horse or need a little bit of help getting back on track — doctor visits are important. The sad thing is, rising healthcare costs make people less likely to check in with a medical professional when needed. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to drive costs down when possible, like rolling back state-based mandates that increase the cost of health insurance. Want to help? Join us.