Benefits of Being In Shape

Published:  01/16/2015

There are so many benefits of being in good shape, at a healthy body fat percentage and healthy weight and exercising regularly. Bottom line: it can lower your risk of mortality from all causes. 

Unfortunately nearly 40% of American adults aged 20 and over are obese. 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including obesity. (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017-2018; Harvard School of Public Health, 2020)

If someone is overweight they are: 

  • 50% more likely to develop heart disease
  • 360% more likely to develop diabetes
  • 31% more likely to die of any cause
  • 120% more likely to develop stomach cancer
  • 590% more likely to develop esophageal cancer
  • 35% more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • In addition, they are more likely to have osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and stroke. 

But there is hope. Exercising even a small amount each day has been shown to:

  • Reduce mortality by 14%
  • Reduce chance of cancer by 10%
  • Reduce chance of cardiovascular disease by 20%
  • Reduce risk of getting diabetes by 50%

The number of people who develop Diabetes is staggering:

  • 35% of adults ages 20 years or older and 50% of adults ages 65 years or older have pre-diabetes
  • 25.6 million, or 11.3% of all people age 20 or older have diabetes
  • 10.9 million, or 26.9% of all people age 65 or older have diabetes

Weight loss decreases risk of diabetes. For every kilogram of weight loss, there was a 16% reduction in risk, adjusted for changes in diet and activity.  Increased physical activity was important to help sustain weight loss. Among 495 participants not meeting the weight loss goal at year,  those who achieved the physical activity goal had 44% lower diabetes incidence.   Diabetes Care  September 2006,  vol. 29,  no. 9,  2102-2107   

An analysis of physical activity and medical records for more than 100,000 people over 30 years found that individuals who performed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' currently recommended range of duration of moderate (150-300 minutes/week) or vigorous physical activity (75-150 minutes/week), respectively, had an observed 20-21% and 19% lower risk of mortality from all causes. Individuals who performed two to four times the amount of recommended physical activity (150-600 minutes/week) were observed to have further reductions in mortality from all causes.

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