More than 23% of women are either obese or overweight in urban India. And the numbers are rising alarmingly fast, as per various recent studies. With the current undisciplined life that we lead and the fast-food, we so frequently consume as meals, obesity has emerged as a dominant lifestyle disorder. Obesity goes far beyond just being more than your recommended body weight. It leads to a host of other health conditions as well, compromising organ function and leading to a host of problems, disorders and diseases, especially for women.
On World Obesity Day (4th March), TC46 talks to Dr Sharad Sharma, Consultant Robotic, Laparoscopic GI & Bariatric Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, who sheds light on the wide range of medical conditions that may be caused by obesity and offers advice on the healthy ways to control your weight to ward off these medical conditions.
10 Health Risks Obese Women Need To Watch Out For
1. Infertility Is More Common Among Obese Women
It is a well-known fact that there is an association between obesity and infertility. Overweight women have a higher incidence of Menstrual Dysfunction and Anovulation. There is a higher risk of sub-fertility and infertility, decreased conception rates, increased miscarriage rates, and higher pregnancy complications. There are also poor reproductive outcomes in natural as well as assisted conception procedures like Ovulation Induction, IVF, and ICSI. Weight loss has beneficial effects on the reproductive outcomes in these patients.
2. Obese Women Are More Likely To Need A C-Section
According to one study published by the University of Tennessee Medical Centre, there was an up to 20% increase in caesarean delivery as BMI (Body Mass Index) increased. Increased BMI was also associated with other complications, including hypertensive disorders and diabetes in pregnancy.
3. Obesity Puts You At A Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Women with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 have a 28 times higher risk of developing diabetes than women with normal weight. This risk is 93 times greater if the BMI is 35 kg/m2. The presence of diabetes also doubles a woman’s risk of heart disease.
4. Osteoarthritis (OA) Is More Common Among Obese Women
Obesity and excessive weight gain can cause severe strain to the knees and hip joints leading to early damage. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES I) revealed that obese women had nearly 4 times the risk of OA as compared with non-obese women, while morbidly obese women (BMI over 35) have about 10 times higher risk of developing knee Osteoarthritis.
5. Obese Women Are At Greater Risk For Heart Disease
Women are at higher risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) when they are obese. Studies have shown that Obesity causes abnormal hormonal signalling and could be one of the main reasons for heart problems. Additionally, risk factors specific to women, like excess weight gain during pregnancy, Preeclampsia, Gestational Diabetes, and Menopause are also important risk factors leading to increased heart disease in women.
6. Obesity Leads To Poor Bone Health
Obesity interferes with bone metabolism due to mechanical, hormonal, and inflammatory factors. Poor bone health is also related to weight, body composition, and dietary patterns of women. The available evidence shows that postmenopausal women with obesity have an increased risk of humeral fractures and osteoporotic fractures of the ankle & lower limb.
7. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Is More Common Among Obese Women
Obesity is commonly found in women with PCOS and between 40–80% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. PCOS has a strong genetic factor. One of the prime causes of PCOS is Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, which are also strongly correlated to obesity. But there is no doubt that environmental factors (high-caloric diets and reduced exercise) also play a major role in the high incidence of obesity in women with PCOS.
8. Depression Is Strongly Linked With Obesity
In middle-aged women, depression is strongly and frequently associated with obesity, reduced physical activity and higher caloric intake. In our approaches to reducing the burden of obesity, depression must be considered as the strong association while treating obesity and related problems.
9. Obese Women More Likely To Suffer From Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
In a recently published study, OSA was present in 39% of the population with obesity. Low exercise capacity was almost three times more frequent in obese women with moderate to severe OSA, than in women with no OSA. Being perimenopausal or postmenopausal may itself increase the likelihood of OSA among women.
10. Fatty Liver Disease Is More Common Among Obese Individuals
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Obesity is associated with multiple metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and high cholesterol. Fatty Liver is a consequence of these metabolic dysfunctions rather than fat accumulation, as commonly misconstrued.
5 Healthy Ways To lose Weight & Improve Organ Function
1. Check Your Diet & Eat Right
- Mind your calories
- Cut down on bad carbs and reduce refined or simple carbs
- Do not skip meals
- Try and increase your protein intake
- Avoid direct sugars
- Increase fibre intake and eat more whole foods
2. Improve Gut Health
Preserve your gut bacteria by eating more fruits and vegetables, prebiotics, and fermented foods. Avoid foods that are packaged, preserved, or high in sodium. Make sure to wash and clean your vegetables and all raw product thoroughly
3. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, leading to weight gain. It will also make you feel lethargic the next day, hindering your will to exercise or get in some form of workout
4. Keep Your Stress Levels Low
Constant stress increases the cortisol in the bloodstream, which will increase one’s appetite, leading to them eating more. This in layman’s terms is referred to as emotional (over)eating. Try and keep your stress levels in check through therapy, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even just by reducing screen time and taking a few moments to sit in silence.
5. Cultivate An Active Lifestyle
Walking, running, jogging, swimming, or any other form of habitual activity that engages your cardiovascular health and improves blood flow will help you in long-term weight maintenance.
It is not such a tough task to keep obesity at bay provided you follow and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep a close watch on the food you eat and try and exercise at least 30 minutes every day.