Millions of Americans struggle daily with their weight. There is so much emphasis put on image in today’s culture, even people without “real” weight problems are counting calories. Then, there are those who are so overweight that it’s affecting their health.
In 2004, the National Institute of Health reported that about two-thirds of adults in the U.S. were overweight or obese.
According to Catharine Paddock, Ph.D., of Medical News Today, “Encouraging an overweight partner or close friend to shed some pounds could be your best gift to them this Christmas.” Although many friends and family worry about a loved one’s weight problem, many of them avoid bringing up the issue with that person.
One of the worst types of fat is fat around the waist, termed “visceral fat.” It is metabolically more active than fat located under the skin and can trigger reactions in the body that disturb metabolic processes. Carrying excess fat around the waist raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
Earlier in the year, the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR) found that 41% of Britons don’t realize that fat around the waistline is worse for their overall health than fat which is stored elsewhere in the body. Another survey found that 59% of people worried about a loved one’s waistline leading to serious health issues. However, too many of them would shy away from expressing their concerns for fear of hurt feelings.
Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, states that suggesting to a friend or family member with a larger waistline that they should consider losing a few pounds may not be a comfortable conversation to have, but “…as long as you do it sensitively, discussing it with them now could help them avoid critical health risks later down the line and could even save their life.”
You must emphasize that the suggestion is about health and not vanity. Start by encouraging them to “make simple lifestyle changes such as becoming more active, making small alterations to their eating habits and replacing sugary drinks for water.” Studies have shown that weight loss due to a low-calorie diet or exercise program can significantly reduce abdominal fat.
With the new year approaching, and vague resolutions to lose weight beginning, more attention will be brought to this issue. Remembering to start small can be crucial to one’s success with weight loss.