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Excess weight and health problems

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Are you overweight and afraid of the impact of this condition on your health? You are indeed more at risk of developing certain diseases, but rest assured, it is never too late to act!

How to calculate your healthy weight

In the past few years, the number of overweight and obese people in Canada has significantly increased. In fact, the World Health Organization calls the phenomenon an obesity epidemic. Various factors can explain this increase, but most of them are linked to a lack of physical exercise and poor eating habits.

Do you know how to calculate your healthy weight? The body mass index (BMI) is the recommended tool to find out what the ideal number is for you. To calculate it, divide your weight (in kg) by your height (in metres) squared. The BMI test is suitable for people aged over 18 only. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as athletes and bodybuilders, should not use it. A result between 18.5 and 24.5 indicates that your weight is within a healthy range, while a result of 25 or higher indicates that your weight is over your healthy weight. Your pharmacist can help you calculate your BMI.

The consequences of excess weight on your health

If your actual weight exceeds your healthy weight, it exposes you to certain problems. Indeed, being overweight is a risk factor for several diseases. Here are a few examples of health problems associated with excess weight:

  • high blood pressure;
  • heart disease;
  • type 2 diabetes;
  • gallbladder disease;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • stroke;
  • sleep apnea and other respiratory problems.

Excess weight does not only affect your physical health, but also your mental health. Individuals who are obese or overweight are more at risk of suffering from depression and psychological issues, such as loss of self-esteem.  

How to take control

If you are worried about the impact of your weight on your health, don’t hesitate to discuss it with a health professional who can help you. Losing weight is not an easy process, but the benefits on your health are enormous. It is also important to be cautious with the methods you use to lose weight. There are all kinds of weight-loss services, diets and products out there. The desire to lose weight rapidly drives many people to turn to quick solutions; the promises made by these so-called miracle solutions are often quite appealing and, unfortunately, we often forget the dangers they can sometimes hold. To reduce your risk of developing health problems because of excess weight, here are some things you can do:

  • Practice physical activities that you enjoy and that are adapted to your health on a regular basis. As often as possible, do at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate exercise. In addition to helping you lose weight, exercise can also help prevent several diseases.
  • Monitor your eating habits by following Canada’s Food Guide. If needed, consult a nutritionist.
  • Reduce your intake of alcoholic and sweet beverages; they are very high in calories.
  • Read the nutrition facts table on packaged foods to make wise choices.
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables and fibre.
  • Opt for low-fat foods (low-fat dairy products, lean meats, etc.).
  • Avoid eating in restaurants that serve large portions and all-you-can-eat buffets.
  • See your doctor to get a complete health evaluation.

It is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle and aim for a healthy weight; there are many services available to help you during this process. Disease doesn’t always warn you before it hits, so why not stop it in its tracks and prevent it altogether? A long life is nice, but a happy and healthy life is even better!

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