We know so much about the risks of overweight and obesity through numerous studies but when you dig deeper, there are some eye-opening and lesser-known risks associated with obesity.

Here are the 8 facts no one told you – many of which are based on research from extensive, long term studies such as the Nurses’ Health Study (I and II).

1. Obese people have higher rates of depression – and vice versa

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It’s probably no surprise that obese people are up to 55% more likely to suffer depression, according to a meta-analysis of 15 long term studies that followed 58,000 participants.

But did you know that the reverse is also true?

People who had depression at the start of these studies had a 58% higher risk of becoming obese.

The link between depression and obesity seems to be related to several things, including inflammation, changes in the brain (HPA axis), insulin resistance and also, social and cultural factors.

2. Guys, you could lose that loving feeling

Several studies indicate that obese men are at higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, and poor sperm motility.

If you’re a male who wants to have a family, consider your options for achieving a healthier weight.

3. You might miss the pitter-patter of tiny feet

It’s worth considering losing a few kilos first. Obese women are more likely to have miscarriage and other pregnancy-related issues.

The Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest health studies in the world, found that obese women are at greater risk of: miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, labor and delivery complications.

Being obese while pregnant can also lead to bearing children who have congenital abnormalities.

4. Your kids will more likely develop heart disease

Numerous studies show that obese mothers are more likely to have children who develop risk factors for heart disease.

risks of being obese_4The theory is that the mother’s obesity may permanently change the pathways that regulate blood pressure.

That means after your children are born, their genetic coding is set to develop blood pressure disorders, in the absence of any other triggers.

5. Scaly, flaky skin

There is apparently a strong link between obesity and psoriasis, according to a recent (2007) study based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory, auto-immune condition that causes scaly, red patches on your skin, flaky nails and sore joints.

It’s thought that the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines, a feature of obesity, might be the culprit.

6. Your risk of breast cancer increases

There are so many factors that are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Some interesting data from the Nurses’ Health Study showed that waist circumference was significantly linked with postmenopausal breast cancer, especially in women who had not had hormone replacement therapy.

Interestingly, there was no significant link found between obesity and premenopausal breast cancer.

7. Your feet may need to be amputated

Obese people are at a high risk of developing Type II diabetes.

And that leads to a raft of problems, not in the least, peripheral neuropathy and poor wound healing.

Those two things spell trouble.

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to peripheral nerves e.g. in arms, hands, feet. The early warning signs are pain, numbness or burning, and perhaps loss of sensation, particularly in your feet.

Coupled with slower wound healing (in Type II diabetics), there is a real risk of poor circulation that leads to long term infection, ulceration and gangrene in the extremities.

There are so many factors involved in obesity, and so many consequences.

What can you do to reduce your weight or lower your risk of obesity? Connect with me for advice on diet and nutrition. 

Connect with WatchFit Expert Melanie White

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