A few good motivators to shed that extra holiday weight you've packed on.
by Lisa Freedman
Overeating—and drinking—is an inevitable part of the last few months. Now, like most Americans, you've probably made a New Year's resolution to hit the gym a little harder. But since most resolutions are made to be broken, we've got a few extra motivators to help you get in gear. Print them out, hang them on your fridge and get going. Or else . . .
You'll Have Bad Breath
Researchers at Tel Aviv University recently found a direct link between obesity and bad breath—the more overweight you are, the more likely your breath will smell rank to those around you. The experts reported that there's no scientific evidence that would explain their results but suggested that obese people may have a diet that promotes dry mouth or that they're less likely to have proper oral hygiene.
Sleep apnea, a disruption of breathing while asleep, is commonly accompanied by symptoms of extremely loud, irregular snoring. And obesity is the factor most likely to lead to sleep apnea (about 70 percent of people who have sleep apnea are overweight). But don't despair too much: A Temple University study found that obese sleep apnea patients who lost just 10 percent of their weight showed good improvements of their condition.
You'll Spend More Time in the Hospital
A study by sociologists at Purdue University found obesity leads to more frequent and longer hospital stays. On average, overweight patients stayed a day and a half longer than those with normal weight. The experts attributed the connection to more prominence of disease, like high blood pressure, which afflicts 46 percent of obese adults. Next time you're about to dig into a plate of chili cheese fries, ask yourself if they're worth losing 36 hours of your life.
Your Doctor Won't Like You
Doctors have less respect for their obese patients than they do for patients of normal weight, reports a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers. As patient's BMI went up, docs reported a corresponding lower respect for them. Who cares what your doctor thinks of you? Previous studies have shown that when physicians respect their patients, there's a better flow of information and patients are more likely to seek medical help in general.
You Could Die in a Car Accident
As body mass index goes up, seatbelt use goes down. So say researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In a telephone survey they found that about 30 percent of overweight individuals did not use a seatbelt, compared to about 20 percent of the average population. And the seatbelt use continued to decline as BMI increased. The study concluded that obese people are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents due to the fact that they're less likely to wear a seatbelt. So buckle up!
You'll Get Dumber
Young adults who are in shape have a higher IQ, reveals a new study carried out at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. The study examined 1.2 million Swedish men doing military service who were born between 1950 and 1976 and analyzed the results of physical and IQ tests when the men enrolled. The results found a clear link between good physical fitness and better results for the IQ test. Researchers attributed the intelligence to the fact that the brain gets plenty of oxygen when people are more physically fit.
You'll Have a Stroke
Men who regularly engage in moderate-to-heavy intensity exercise such as jogging, tennis or swimming may be less likely to have a stroke than people who get no exercise or only light exercise, reports a recent study. The study's more active men were 63 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who did lighter activities like walking and golfing. Strokes, by the way, are the leading cause of disability and the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
You'll Go Broke
With the recent implementation of fat-taxes, sugary and fatty foods are starting to strain people's belts and wallets. Forty states now impose extra sales taxes (up to seven percent) on soft drinks and a few snack items; and the number of taxable items is only predicted to go up. Medically speaking, a 2006 study found that obese people spent 42 percent more than people of normal weight on medical costs (a difference of $1,429). Additionally, airlines have begun enforcing policies that passengers too large to fit in one seat must purchase a second—at standard price. Makes that $12 salad look more reasonable, huh?