A recent health survey found people have trouble believing their extra pounds are weighing into their poor health. In fact, obesity related problems are a huge health indicator.

“All of the chronic diseases that we deal with, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes - they’re all related to weight problems. It’s anticipated that the next generation will not live as long this current generation if things continue to go the way they are,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, Vice President of Health and Wellness for Lee Memorial Health System.

Still more than 53% of men didn’t think their weight was a problem and 48% of women felt the same way. Experts see a rise in obesity that parallels the rise in diabetes.

“It doesn’t surprise me that diabetes is on the rise, with our aging population and with the increased prevalence of obesity, I believe this trend is going to continue to rise. As you gain weight you become more insulin resistant, meaning that you can’t use the sugar or glucose in your blood,” says Sharon Krispinsky, a certified diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.

The number one killer in this country is cardiovascular disease. Excessive weight is also a contributing factor there. Doctors use body mass index to help gauge heart health.

“A lot of people with high waist sizes or the high body mass index develop what we call metabolic syndrome and that’s becoming more and more common in our country with increasing weight. The metabolic syndrome tends to carry with it a high risk of cardiovascular disease, a higher risk of myocardial infarction, higher risk of stroke,” says Dr. Brian Taschner, an interventional cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

The CDC reports people who are obese show up more in emergency rooms compared to the general population, this disproportionate rate being linked to crisis intervention. There is a solution to this heavy weight problem:

“Research has shown that even with a modest weight loss and regular exercise, and when I say modest weight loss its 5% to 10% of your body weight, you could reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 58%,” says Krispinsky.

Discussing weight may be a sensitive issue, but one you should take up with your doctor.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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