It’s no surprise that we gain weight as we grow older. Not only does our metabolism slow down over time, but a sedentary lifestyle of office work and the average diet – consisting of abundant fat, sugar, and sodium (paired with little fiber and actual nutrients) – makes for an equation that leads to weight gain.
According to a 2009-2010 study conducted by the CDC, more than 35% of adults in the U.S. fall into the category of obesity, generally considered to include anyone that exceeds their ideal body weight by more than 20%. And many more are merely overweight.
As if that’s not bad enough, the study also concluded that more than 16% of children in the U.S. are obese. That amounts to approximately 90 million Americans suffering from obesity at the time the study was conducted. And this epidemic can lead to all kinds of other issues. So here are just a few reasons to take this problem seriously and hop on board to lose excess weight.
1. Look better. From a purely cosmetic standpoint, people who are fit are considered more attractive. Now, you might feel that you’re attractive at any weight, but discrimination against “fat” people is a very real problem for some overweight people in this country. In fact, some say it is the last legal form of discrimination. Unfortunately, this could affect your ability to get jobs or clients, develop love interests, and even function in everyday social situations. It’s a sad reality of our beauty-obsessed culture, but it warrants consideration.
2. Feel good. The extra pounds that are weighing you down could be to blame for all kinds of aches and pains, especially in the joints. Extra weight can also lead to fatigue, lethargy, and assortments of other symptoms that leave you feeling bad. When you’re exercising, eating right, and maintaining a healthy weight, you’re going to find that you feel a lot better day in and day out.
3. Improve health. This is perhaps the best reason to shed a few pounds. Extra weight can increase your risk of several serious conditions including sleep apnea, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. And if any of these conditions are already prevalent in your family, packing on the pounds can dramatically increase the chances that you’ll suffer the same fate, giving you additional incentive to start losing weight.
4. Prevent further damage. If you are currently overweight, you’ve already begun to tax your body in ways you might not even realize. While you’re likely to feel the strain on your joints, the damage you’re doing to your heart and internal organs is often “invisible” until it’s too late. Luckily, losing weight can significantly improve your chances of avoiding medical issues. And if you happen to be at a healthy weight already, maintaining it can ensure that you have the best chance for long and healthy life.
5. Lead by example. Parents who fill the house with processed foods, ignore proper portion sizes and fail to lead an active lifestyle are setting their kids up for being overweight. So if you are at all concerned about the health and happiness of your children, make changes in your own life so that you can provide them with a good example to follow. Your reward just might be living a long life to see your children and grandchildren grow up to be happy, healthy adults.