Being Overweight In Your 20s: The Health Issues That Could Last A Lifetime

It’s official: research from the American Heart Association shows that those in their 20s are more likely to be overweight than they were a generation ago.  This is the generation that grew up with a Starbucks, McDonald’s or KFC on every corner – people used to have a coffee in the morning, maybe one or two during the day at work from the standard drip coffee machine, but those in their 20’s are more likely to pop out to their local coffee shop.  When they do, they’re not ordering a black americano either – more likely it’s a 300 – 640 calorie sweetened latte concoction, often with whipped cream and extra syrup on top.  Drink one of those every day, coupled with an over-reliance on fast food and little exercise and you’ll be packing on the lbs in no time.

Declining Health

According to the CDC, more than 30% of Americans aged between 20 and 39 are obese, and an even greater percentage are overweight at 68%.  Those who are overweight in their 20s are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea, and it is 8 times more probable that they will experience a potentially fatal heart attack or blood clot.  Being obese has also been linked to a poorer quality of life, with greater potential for mental illnesses like anxiety or depression to set in.

A Ticking Time Bomb

It’s not just about the immediate effects of being obese though: they are also more likely to have a stroke or heart attack in their 40s, and recent studies show that they are at higher risk for esophageal or stomach cancer in later life.  This is also the first time in many years that scientists actually believe life expectancy will decline, rather than improve as has previously been the case.

The Time To Act Is Now

It is possible to reverse some of the adverse health effects of obesity, if you act early enough – weight loss and nutrition are key, but some may need the added boost of surgery to reach their ideal weight or body type.  

Recent research has shown that some cases of diabetes can successfully be cured by patients following a very strict, low calorie diet.  A lower weight will also reduce the amount of stress on joints and ligaments, leading to fewer injuries and less pain in the short term, but also reducing the chances of developing arthritis or osteoporosis in later life.  A healthier BMI now could extend your life by many years, and mean far fewer health issues as you age.

Image courtesy of [Witthaya Phonsawat] at

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