Study Finds Losing Small Amount of Weight Can Have Major Health Benefits
The number of Americans who are overweight or obese has been climbing steadily over the past decade, and today, more than two-thirds of Americans are included in that number. Not surprisingly, all that added weight is taking on toll on the feet and ankles. Increased pressure from supporting even a few extra pounds can place a strain on ligaments, tendons and joints, and when weight gain is more extreme, the effects will likewise be more substantial. Many people who are overweight or obese face issues like osteoarthritis in the feet or ankles, and chronic foot pain from “fallen” arches and plantar fasciitis. People who are overweight and obese are more likely to have diabetes and suffer from associated painful nerve damage and circulation problems in the feet.
Aside from these more obvious correlations between excess weight and foot and ankle problem’ being overweight affects the feet in other, subtler ways too. Multiple studies have demonstrated that carrying extra weight can result in changes in the way we walk (our gait), how quickly we walk, the way our ankle and foot joints flex and bend, and even how we place our feet when walking. And in turn, these gait alterations often wind up causing pain in the knees, hips and lower back.
Study: Small Amount of Weight Loss Yield Big Health Benefits
The obvious solution, then, is to lose weight, and indeed, for years researchers have recommended a 10 percent loss of body weight to reap the benefits of weight loss. But a new study from Washington University School of Medicine says patients actually need to lose about half that much, or 5 percent of their body weight, to enjoy better health, including lowering the risk of joint issues and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. For men and women, the difference between 5 percent and 10 percent is huge; after all, 5 percent is a much more achievable goal for most people, and that can go a long way toward dispelling feelings of failure that often occur when reaching that 10 percent mark just seems too overwhelming. What’s more, by setting – and achieving – a smaller initial goal, men and women are also more likely to continue to lose weight, buoyed by that initial success.
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Foot and ankle pain can take a significant toll on quality of life no matter what the cause. Dr. Felix Sigal is a top podiatrist in Los Angeles with substantial experience helping men and women with all types of foot and ankle pain, including plantar fasciitis, arthritis and diabetes-related symptoms. To learn more about foot pain and its potential causes and treatments, visit the Foot & Ankle Clinic website or call our office at (213) 365-0793.