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I have focused so much attention on the impact that obesity can have on a person’s overall health that, honestly, it never occurred to me to look at a far more common occurrence. What kind of impact does a person sustain if they gain10 or 15 pounds?

If I were thrown a question like that on a random quiz, my best guess is that it wouldn’t have any impact other than mild to moderate belt line discomfort. Maybe a little trouble bending over.

The Mayo Clinic takes exception to my answer. In a recent study, they found that moderate weight gain (in their study the average weight gain was 9 pounds), can cause a change in the lining of blood vessels putting the person at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

At first I wondered why this would even be studied, but the article clarified that the reason for the study was to find out what happens in the initial stages of a person’s trip to being truly overweight or obese. What they found is that the effects start soon and go steadily downhill if the weight gain isn’t reversed. The good news is that the change in the blood vessels that comes with weight gain is reversible with subsequent weight loss. Once again, making the healthy lifestyle choice pays off.

Bottom line. No one ever said life was going to be easy, but if you make the right decisions and stick to them, they become easier and can have a profound impact on your health, and yes, the life insurance rates you pay. Depending on what your weight is, even the extra 9 pounds they used in the study can put you in a different rate class.