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The Problem of Being Overweight|health women for better life

 The Problem of Being Overweight

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The Problem of Being Overweight

Fat is an important part of our body. We need it to protect our bones and organs; it is essential for our hormonal and immune systems and it is our energy reserves.

However, when we have more than we need, it reduces our body’s flexibility, can put a strain on our organs, and can eventually affect someone’s health.

To say that someone is ‘overweight’ does not correlate necessarily to how much they weigh. Many things can affect our weight: – water retention, bone size, and muscle mass (which weighs 3 times more than fat). That said, there are weight charts that calculate the average weight for someone of a set height and age and can be used to identify potential risks.

Rather, being overweight means that a person has more fat than is considered the optimum amount needed. How this optimum amount is calculated usually in one of two ways. The first is by using skin calipers. These literally pinch folds of skin at various points over the body and measure the layer of fat under the skin. This is normally fairly accurate unless a person has an unusual distribution of fat.

The second method is using the Body mass Index (BMI) scale – this is a calculation based on your weight and height to produce a ‘score’. Although again not ideal as it compares against average scores, it can be used alongside the skin caliper test for a relatively accurate result. People are considered overweight if they have a BMI score of 25-30.

Overweight is the category between ideal weight and obese; the stage before Obesity, when a person's body fat is significantly high that it is a serious risk to their health.

Currently, over 25% of girls and 20% of boys of school age in the UK are overweight – and many of these will go on to be obese in the future. The trend in child activity is away from exercise and active playing outside with a shift towards watching TV and playing game consoles. This can only exacerbate the problem.

As well as the physical risks of being overweight, there are many psychological effects. Many people, particularly women, have low self-esteem and lack confidence because of their size. One of the primary reasons given for suicide attempts in young people is feeling low about their size or being bullied because they are “fat”.

Being overweight has also been shown to reduce your life chances by influencing other people’s opinions of you. A survey of 2000 personnel staff in the UK in 2005 found that they felt being overweight indicated laziness; the effect of this is that they found an overweight person is less likely to be given a job than a smaller applicant.

The solution to being overweight is to lose weight – this can be achieved by exercise, and eating a healthy diet with careful control of calories to ensure the body needs to use its energy reserves and thus break down the fat.