Obesity is one of the most prevalent conditions in many countries. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, in the United States, only tobacco causes more deaths in adults each year, and the condition is starting to affect more and more children. About one in three adults in the United States and about 1 in 6 children have obesity.
A person has obesity when his or her weight is at least 20% above their normal weight for their height. Its consequences span from health issues like heart disease to infertility to social and emotional effects from discrimination, lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.
Obesity affects the body in many ways, but the three most common effects of obesity are heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bone and joint disease.
Although not all people with obesity develop type 2 diabetes, it is a risk factor for developing the condition. About 90% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese, according to the Obesity Society.
In people with obesity, the excess weight can cause insulin resistance in the body and puts added pressure on it to use insulin efficiently. Insulin is the hormone responsible for the regulation of blood sugar levels. So naturally, if the body stops responding to insulin normally, blood sugar levels rise. This is called hyperglycemia.
An important factor in the developing of diabetes is the location of body fat. With extra body fat comes a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease.
The good news is it might not be too late. Both type 2 diabetes and heart disease may be reduced or even cured by lifestyle changes such as more physical activity, weight loss, and a healthy diet.