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Did you know that almost 65 percent of adult Americans are overweight and nearly 40 percent are obese? The American College of Gastroenterology reported this startling number and defines obesity as the term to “describe body weight that is significantly greater than what is considered healthy.” When an adult is obese, it indicates that they have a higher body fat amount compared to their lean muscle mass.


Potential Health Risks

Obesity is associated with many harmful medical risks and that is why it’s important to stay healthy. Some of the most common medical concerns are associated with being overweight or obese, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even premature death.

While these common risk are a high concern, many do not realize the number of gastrointestinal conditions that are associated with obesity. Conditions such as gallstones that affect your digestive system, pancreas and liver are seen in those with normal weight are two to three times more common in overweight and obese patients! For example digestive disorders that are more prevalent with obesity include fatty liver which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones which can cause bloating, distention and other problems including but not limited to: acute and in some cases chronic pancreatitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease and much more. Risk of cancer within the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, colon and esophagus are also heightened with obesity.  



Preventing obesity and unhealthy weight gain can be difficult in today’s society. As we modernize our lifestyles, more of us are becoming overweight and obese. Particularly in the United States, we have plenty of nutritious food to eat, but we also have access to fattening fast foods and sweets. Additionally, we are not as active as we once were allowing us to eat more calories than we can burn. People often drive a mile instead of walking a mile to their gym to work out. Part of the problem is the infrastructure is not there for people to walk. In some of America’s suburbs, the roads don’t even have walkway to walk safely, while this may not be the case in major cities, they have other safety issues prohibiting them from walking.  


Maintaining a healthy weight means finding the right balance for you. Consuming a proper calorie count and engaging in physical activity is the best way to keep a healthy weight. Proper calories through healthy and adequate foods provide great nutrition for your body. Additionally, finding ways to have fun working out is also needed. If you find yourself living an unhealthy lifestyle, it is not too late to change. Remember that changing small daily habits can lead to significant benefits overtime.


Mitra Rangarajan is one of the few people in the world who is cross-trained and certified in three interrelated, interconnected and intertwined disciplines which are: Nutrition, Diabetes Management, and Clinical Medicine/GI. Read more of Mitra’s GI Nutrition articles here!

Reference Links

Patient Education Resources from the American College of Gastroenterology

Everyday Health