Women’s Obesity Rates On The Rise
Worried about your weight? Women’s obesity rates are on the rise and society puts a lot of pressure on women to be thin, but if it seems like the number on your scale is going in the wrong direction, you are not alone. According to a 2013-2014 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rates of obesity in women continues to rise, while the number of men considered to be obese have leveled off. Forty percent of the women in the U.S. are considered obese, with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 percent. (You can calculate your BMI HERE)
Doctors and researchers aren’t sure why women are struggling more with obesity, but they have several ideas worth exploring. First, women must factor in pregnancy and menopause as two times in their lives when their bodies are at a greater risk of gaining weight. Today, more women go into pregnancy heavier to begin with, making it even more challenging to maintain a healthy weight during and after having children. Finally, as the primary caregivers in many families, women’s eating habits and health can directly influence those of their children and families, another cause of concern among doctors and researchers.
The downside of being overweight is not merely appearance based. There are significant health risks associated with obesity. Women (and men) who are heavier are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, among other health issues. However new research has given some indication that the health risks, though serious, may not be as scary as previously imagined. A Danish study found that overweight people were not at any higher risk of dying than adults in a healthy weight range. Newer treatments for the diseases linked to obesity may be a contributing factor. Regardless, focusing on a healthy diet and regular exercise remains important for anyone.
The Truth About BMI
Many researchers have doubts about the importance being placed on BMI. The measurement may not be the most accurate indication of a person’s overall health. For instance, BMI doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat. Muscle is heavier, which could lead to a very muscular person having a higher BMI. There are also different types of fat, some of which affect your body differently. Additionally, where a person carries extra fat on their bodies matters, too, and BMI does not take that into account. When that information is included <>, some people whose BMI does not classify them as overweight or obese would be. This could actually be bad news for many Americans, meaning more are obese than previously reported.
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