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  • Writer's pictureDr Desai

Weight and your health - Eye-opening facts that will surprise you

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Probably one of the most common concerns patients have is about their weight. Weight issues often get swamped by other issues during a visit, so your doctor may not have time to tell you these remarkable facts:

1. Weight and health are not directly related.

Being overweight is associated with multiple medical issues but is usually not associated with a shorter life. Also, it only takes a small weight loss (say 5-10 lbs) to reduce the risk of these other medical issues (like high blood pressure or diabetes). You don’t have to get to a “normal” weight to improve your health.

2. A little overweight is OK for your health

A very common way to measure weight is by BMI (body mass index). There are multiple free on-line calculators. Remember that “normal” and “overweight” definitions are based on old life insurance tables, so they are not necessarily accurate. While it is true that the longest life expectancy is associated with a BMI of 22-25, no significant reduction in life expectancy is seen until a BMI of 35.

3. Your weight is not your fault

You have to have a genetic predisposition to be overweight. It helps if you had parents who wanted you to finish your food, as lack of your body’s auto-regulation begins in childhood. Any job or situation without regular meal breaks will mess up your metabolism. Lastly, hormones released by stress or lack of sleep tend to be hormones that are associated with weight gain.

4. You don’t have to go to the gym

Exercise is excellent for your health but not necessarily for your weight. For women in particular, exercise can increase hunger which removes any weight loss benefit you may have gained by working out. Many busy people would actually get more health benefits from extra sleep or cooking their own food than spending an hour at the gym. Small movements have been shown to burn as many calories as exercising - more on that later.

There’s plenty more to talk about - look out for the next article on weight loss.

Please remember that reading an article does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship or any form of individual medical advice. Everyone deserves to have a doctor - so find one that you can talk to. Or make an appointment!


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