Here’s a question we’ve often heard: “Why are you going to the gym? You’re not overweight!” Other variations: “Why are you skipping dessert? You’re thin!” or “You don’t need to see a doctor — you’re obviously healthy!” Maintaining a healthy weight can improve your health and decrease your risk for certain health problems, but does being at a healthy weight mean you’re healthy?
Some people view weight as a measure of their health, and some make lifestyle choices based on weight rather than their overall well-being. While weight does factor into your overall health, how much you weigh isn’t necessarily the most important thing to consider.
The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight
Research shows that being overweight or obese has a negative impact on health. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from type-2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, asthma, and certain types of cancer.
Being at a healthy weight decreases your risk for the health problems associated with being overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, and lends itself to an improved quality of life.
Additionally, people who are obese or overweight typically pay more for healthcare than people at a healthy weight. According to one study, obese adults spent over $1,400 more each year on medical costs than people of a healthy weight.
There are several important health benefits to maintaining a healthy weight; however a healthy weight does not guarantee good health.
A healthy weight doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in good health
It’s absolutely possible to be at a healthy weight and not be healthy. Your Body Mass Index compares your height to your weight, and while this is a useful measurement, it does not tell the whole story of your health.
A person at a healthy weight may be physically inactive, or they might smoke tobacco or drink alcohol in excess. They might have hypertension or high cholesterol. They could have cancer or a chronic disease and not even know about it. In other words, a healthy weight is not a clean bill of health. A healthy weight can be misleading.
Don’t rely on a bathroom scale to tell you whether or not you’re healthy. Not only does weight not dictate your health, but you don’t always exhibit symptoms when you have a health problem. It’s important to visit with your primary care provider regularly to ensure that you’re staying healthy. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today!