Prevea Health

Obesity's impact on men's health

 
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Over the last two decades, the number of Americans considered to be obese has been climbing steadily. Data from the CDC indicates that in 1999, an estimated 30 percent of the US population was considered obese, and by 2020 the percentage of obese Americans had jumped to 42 percent.
 

Obesity in men

While obesity affects men and women in the US nearly equally, men often face specific health challenges related to their hormones, prostate and sexual health after becoming obese. Countless studies detail how obese men are more likely to have low sperm counts, high blood pressure, arthritis and heart attacks. Additionally, prostate cancer, which impacts 1 in 8 men, is said to be 20 percent more likely to develop in men who are considered obese.

Many men who are classified as obese find themselves with lowered testosterone levels, erectile dysfunction, diminished fertility rates, and at an increased risk of developing kidney stones, heart disease, type II diabetes and certain types of cancer. Physicians stress the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for many reasons, and when an individual drops down to a healthier weight, they can often avoid health problems like these, many of which remain among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

Another incentive to keep extra pounds off is that it could save a person money in the long run. A recent study found that medical costs for adults who were obese were on average $1,861 higher than medical costs for people with a healthy weight.

Having excess weight takes its toll on more than just a person’s finances and risk for disease. Extra weight adds undesirable stress on joints, bones and muscles which can lead to increased health problems contributing to asthma and back pain.

According to the CDC, middle-aged men and women (aged 40-59) are the most common age group to experience obesity, and the health concern does affect some groups of Americans more than others. Within the CDC’s study, they estimate that nearly 50 percent of non-Hispanic Black adults were obese in 2020.
 

Body mass index (BMI)

Many health care providers will determine whether a man is obese by calculating their Body Mass Index (BMI). This calculation is used to measure a person’s body fat based on their height and weight. Physicians perform these assessments to help indicate high body fat, but a trained health care provider should also perform appropriate assessments to evaluate an individual’s health status and potential risks related to their weight.

The main reason men suffer from obesity is because they eat too much and move too little. Physicians recommend a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, water, meat and eggs to help maintain a healthy weight. Those who are seeking to maintain a desired weight, or loss some excess pounds, are encouraged to exercise at least 150 minutes a week to help reach their weight goals.


 
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