When it comes to nutrition, it's easy to spend a lot of time worrying about what to eat. But how much you eat puts as much of a stamp on your long-term health as picking the right kind of fat or choosing the right mix of vitamins.
How much you weigh (in relation to your height), your waist size, and how much weight you've gained since your mid-20s strongly influence your chances of:
Many Paths to Successful Weight Loss: The latest study showing that a low-carb or Mediterranean diet are just as good as a low-fat diet for losing weight
An Epidemic of Obesity: A brief look at the rapid rise in obesity over the past twenty years, in the U.S. and abroad
Excess Weight Is Not Good for You: Cutting through the confusion around the latest studies on obesity and disease risk
Defensive Eating: Strategies to defend against over-eating
Can You Be Too Thin?: Understanding the relationship between low body weight and health
* dying early,
* having, or dying from, a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease,
* developing diabetes,
* developing cancer of the colon, kidney, breast, or endometrium,
* having arthritis,
* developing gallstones,
* being infertile,
* developing asthma as an adult,
* snoring or suffering from sleep apnea,
* developing cataracts, or
* having a poorer quality of life.
Although researchers are quibbling about just how many people die each year as a direct cause of excess weight and what it costs our health-care system, excess weight takes an enormous toll—all the more worrisome, given that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic.
If your weight is in the healthy range and isn't more than 10 pounds over what you weighed when you turned 21, great. Keeping it there—and keeping it steady—by watching what you eat and exercising will limit your risk of developing one or more of the chronic conditions noted above. If you are overweight, doing whatever you can to prevent gaining more weight is a critical first step. Then, when you're ready, shedding some pounds and keeping them off will be important steps to better health.