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Women today not only form a pivotal part of workforce but play a key role at home. They are teachers, helpers, advisors, and caregivers all wrapped up in one package. In the process women often forget to take care of themselves.

Here’s what happens when you ignore taking care of your health.

Let us look at some of the effects of obesity on women –

Although the primary reasons for obesity are genetics, behavioural and hormonal influences, overeating, unhealthy eating & sedentary lifestyle can majorly contribute to the disease. Hormones play an essential role in managing women’s health during every phase of life.

Leptin, insulin, growth hormones, oestrogens, and androgens influence appetite, metabolism, and body fat distribution. Obese people have hormone levels that encourage abnormal metabolism and accumulation & storage of body fat. This acts as a cycle; excess production of hormone can lead to obesity and obesity can lead to changes in hormone production.

Effects on maternal health –

Increased BMI at the age of 18, significantly contributes to infertility. Obesity during pregnancy puts you at risk of several health problems like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, sleep apnea, and increased risk of heart & lung disorders. Obese women have an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Congenital disabilities in babies such as neural tube defects, heart defects, macrosomia (condition of having larger babies) are also evident. Infants born with huge body fat have a higher chance of becoming obese later in their lives.

Risk of cancer –

Obese or overweight women are at 16 % higher risk for developing breast, ovarian, endometrial, thyroid, colorectal, stomach, pancreatic – cancers, cancer of blood plasma cells, meningioma etc.

Other health issues –

Fat is stored in two main areas in women. One around the belly and the other in the hips & thighs. The predominance of abdominal fat exhibits more insulin resistance and elevated free fatty acid production than the fat stored and distributed in other areas. Other effects include glucose intolerance, metabolic syndrome, direct implication on heart health, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, asthma, etc. For best health, doctors say the waist should measure less than 35 inches for women. But any kind of unnecessary stored fat is always dangerous to health.

Obesity & menopause –

Hot flashes, night sweat, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, breast discomfort, vaginal dryness, are some of the symptoms of menopause in women with normal weight. Obesity worsens menopause. Obese women have severe hot flashes, increased risk of osteoporosis, joint & muscle pain. Obesity also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes and breast cancer in women after menopause.

Obese women have hormone levels that encourage fat accumulation. Behavioural hormones that instigate overeating, non-adherence to healthy diets, tend to regulate the appetite and make the body get used to fat distribution in the body, pushing the metabolic set point higher to gain weight.Studies indicate weight loss as a result of a healthy diet & exercise or bariatric surgery have led to better insulin resistance, decreased risk of heart diseases, certain cancers, diabetes, and strokes.

It’s not selfish to take time to go to the gym or get the extra sleep you have been missing out on or taking time to relax. It’s not selfish to care about your health.