Weight-Loss Benefits

Health, Home & Family
on July 27, 2003

With summer here, most of us would like to shed a few pounds. But theres more to be gained by losing than looking great in a swimsuit. Dropping a little extra weight can help you live longer and avoid health problems.

Reaping the benefits doesnt require slimming down to a small size. Someone whos 50 pounds overweight and loses just one-third of that extra baggage16 poundsgets 75 percent of the health benefits.

And that, says Dr. Larry Richardson, a weight-loss specialist based in Spring, Texas, is a pretty good bang for your buck.

Its easy to say, If I cant get 50 pounds off, then Im not going to get 10 pounds off, he says. But if they can lose a little bit and get a little more active, that takes them out of a high-risk category and ratchets down their health risk.

Indeed, extra weight not only increases the risk of heart disease and stroke but can increase the risk of many health problems, including:

Type 2 Diabetes. About 90 percent of all people newly diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes are overweight, but many who lose weight see glucose levels drop. Losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight may prevent the disease.

High blood pressure. About 70 percent of people with hypertension are overweight, and a large proportion of overweight people tend to develop high blood pressure, Richardson says.

Osteoarthritis. Every extra pound puts additional stress on the joints, wearing away protective cartilage.

I think we have to get a sense of urgency or importance, Richardson says.