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    Numbers Game: Answer

    nurse taking blood pressureCardiovascular disease risk doubles for every 10-point increase in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) and every 20-point increase in systolic blood pressure (the top number).

    This serves as a perfect reminder of the domino effect of poor health.

    It also illustrates why maintaining a healthy weight is important.  It deeply frustrates me when people argue that weight gain should not be demonized, and that all body shapes should be accepted.

    I certainly back up that argument from a social and body-image standpoint.  No one should be made to feel inferior — by others as well as themselves — because of their waist size.  The fact that you’re ten or fifteen pounds overweight doesn’t negate the fact that you can be — and feel — sexy.

    From a health standpoint, however, getting rid of excess weight is crucial.

    Not only does excess weight increase cellular inflammation (THE most important factor behind the development of a number of degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease), it also sets off a chain of symptoms and conditions.

    Excess weight increases blood pressure, lowers HDL cholesterol levels, and increase LDL cholesterol levels, thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk.

    It also increases arthritis risk and puts excessive force on joints, often making exercise painful and difficult (thereby creating a powerful barrier against regular exercise).

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    One Comment

    1. susan said on February 11th, 2010

      Well, I think maintaining a “normal” weight is important, but not if it is detrimental to your mental health. I know a LOT of women who have some very disordered thoughts about food and exercise because they want to lose weight and just weren’t meant to be slim. I’ve been a bit overweight since I was 13, and the only time I get into the “normal” range is when I’m overexercising and hungry all the time. After a lot of therapy, I’m not obsessing over food and exercise anymore, but am still about 10 lbs over a normal BMI. I walk 10,000 steps a day, eat a very healthy diet, and work out HARD on an elliptical or bike 50 min a day — and lift weights. I just wasn’t built to be thin.

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