Tess Holliday has been everywhere. The size-22 supermodel was recently on the cover of People magazine with the following quote:
“You can be beautiful regardless of your size.”
Sure, you can be beautiful, but can you be healthy?
The 29-year-old's popularity has sparked fierce debate about what message she's sending. Is she promoting self-love? After all, the typical supermodel has been accused of promoting anorexia. Or is she promoting obesity?
For those who think the latter, Holliday told People, "Health is so personal for everybody. It's really my business."
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
True, health is personal. And beauty comes in many sizes. But here are 5 situations when obesity definitely leads to health problems.
1. When You Have Diabetes
Obesity and diabetes go together like peanut butter and jelly. Being obese makes you more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Here's how: The excess fat leads to the type of inflammation that usually develops with infection or injury, reports a March 2014 study in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Over time, this leads to insulin resistance. You need insulin to break down the sugar from your food and turn it into energy.
Now, you're talking daily blood sugar checks, insulin injections, and about an extra $8,000 a year in medical bills, according to the American Diabetes Association.
2. When You Have Joint Problems
Too much fat puts extreme stress on the joints. This stress wears down the cartilage that makes the bones of a joint glide over each other. They're grinding instead of gliding, causing osteoarthritis, not to mention chronic pain, explains the Arthritis Foundation.
Even just 10 pounds of extra weight puts 40 pounds of additional pressure on the knees. And once you have pain in those joints, it's harder to do the physical activity that can drop the weight.
3. When You Are At Risk For Heart Disease
Heart disease is an umbrella term for many conditions that all mean one thing: Blood is not pumping properly.
When a clot develops in your brain, that's a stroke. When blood flow slows because of too much plaque buildup in the arteries, that's called coronary artery disease, and it could lead to a heart attack, says the American Heart Association.
Regardless of the type of heart disease, obesity is one of the primary contributing factors.
4. When You Can't Sleep
Obesity and sleep apnea are also closely linked. Excess fat around the neck cuts off proper respiration, explains the National Sleep Foundation. So, the person has obstructed breathing and occasionally stops breathing while sleeping.
Here's the catch: This often leads to a vicious cycle in which the sleep-deprived person eats more to recoup the energy she loses from not sleeping enough.
5. When Your Children Are Also Obese
About 70 percent of obese young people between ages 5 and 17 years old have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And they're more likely to carry these issues into adulthood when it could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Beauty Or Health?
Much like asthma or cancer, obesity is considered a medical diagnosis because of the laundry list of health issues that it can cause.
Who knows if Tess Holliday has any health issues, but for those who do have obesity-related health conditions, remember this: You don't have to challenge beauty standards by risking your health.
By maintaining a healthy weight, you can be beautiful and healthy.
For more information about maintaining a healthy weight, or getting on track towards your appropriate weight, visit the Wellness Center at EIRMC.