Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excess body weight and is not simply a concern of how one looks. It has major medical implications and increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and higher blood pressure.
According to CDC, the prevalence of obesity has been 39.8% and influenced about 93.3 Million of US adults in 2016. Obesity-related conditions include cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer which are a number of the top causes of preventable, premature death. The association between obesity and educational or income level is complex and differs by sex and race or ethnicity.
The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the health cost for those who have obesity was 1,429 higher than people of normal weight. Being exceptionally obese means you're especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, improved physical activity and behavioral changes can help you shed the extra weight.
Obesity is associated with increased risk of illness, disability, and even death.
Science & Research
People are considered to be obese if their body mass index is above 30. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple measure to determine whether you are obese. It is defined as the weight (kilograms) divided by the square of the height (meters). According to the fact sheet generated by WHO (World Health Organization, Fact Sheet N°311, 2015), the percentage of obese people in the world has doubled in the last 3.5 decades. Out of the 1.9 billion overweight adults, over 600 million were seen to be obese.
Excessive weight can result in many serious, and possibly deadly, health difficulties, including hyper- anxiety, Type II diabetes mellitus (non-insulin dependent diabetes), higher risk for coronary disease, increased unexplained heart attack, infertility, and a higher incidence of colon, prostate, and potentially, breast cancer.
The major causes of obesity can boil down to your eating habits in combination with your physical activity. Genetic factors also play a role in making you obese. Sometimes, psychological problems like depression and anxiety can lead to weight gain. Obesity can also be a side effect of certain hormonal conditions.
The mechanism for excessive weight gain is apparent -- more calories are consumed than the body burns, and the excess calories are stored as fat tissue. However, the exact cause is not as apparent and probably arises from a complex mixture of variables. Genetic factors significantly affect the way the body regulates appetite and also the rate at which it turns food into energy (metabolic rate). A genetic predisposition to weight gain, however, doesn't automatically mean that a individual will be obese. Eating habits and patterns of physical activity also play a substantial part in the total amount of weight a person gains.
Some recent studies have indicated that the
amount of fat in a individual's diet may have a greater impact on weight than
how many calories the food contains. Carbohydrates like breads, cereals, fruits
and vegetables, and protein (fish, lean beef, turkey breast, skim milk) are
converted to fuel almost as soon as they're consumed. Most fat calories are
instantly stored in fat cells, which contribute to the body's weight and girth
as they multiply and expand.
Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Your body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) squared.
The major symptoms of obesity include an
excessive weight gain along with the presence of large amounts of fatty
The treatment for obesity includes the incorporation of major lifestyle changes that involve alterations in diet plan and an exercise routine. Sometimes, morbidly obese individuals need to undergo a surgery (Bariatric) that reduces a part of the stomach or intestine (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine). In certain cases, appetite-reducing drugs are prescribed to help with weight loss.
Alternatively, natural herbal remedies can be effective against obesity. Also, acupressure or acupuncture therapies reduce the cravings for food. Visualization techniques can help to create a positive image and encourage you to work towards that goal. Exercises, Yoga, and meditation can help you lose weight in a defined manner.
Excessive weight gain is caused when people consume more calories than the body needs—occurring most commonly due to eating a diet high in fat and calories, being sedentary, or both. This imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned, however, can also be caused by a number of different Obesity-related factors such as genetic, hormonal, behavioral, environmental and, to some extent, cultural. There are many other factors causing obesity such as pregnancy, tumors as well as endocrine disorders and medications that include psychotic drugs, estrogens, corticosteroids and insulin. To provide root-cause obesity treatment, all causes and symptoms have to be evaluated properly.
Treatment of obesity depends primarily on the
degree of a person’s overweight and his or her overall health. However, to be
successful, any treatment must affect life-long behavioral changes rather than
short-term weight loss. Behavior-focused treatment can focus on:
• What a person eats and how much.
• How a person responds to food.
• How people spend their time.
Obesity experts indicate that a secret to preventing excess weight reduction is tracking fat consumption instead of counting calories, along with the National Cholesterol Education Program asserts that just 30 percent of calories should be derived from fat. Just one-third of these calories must be comprised in saturated fats (the sort of fat found in high concentrations in beef, poultry, and dairy products). Since most men and women consume more than they believe they do, keeping a detailed food diary is a helpful approach to evaluate eating habits. Eating three balanced, moderate meals per day with the major meal in mid-day--is a much better approach to avoid obesity compared to fasting or crash diets. When routine exercise is coupled with regular, healthy foods, calories are still burn off at a rapid rate for many hours. Ultimately, encouraging healthy habits in kids is a key to preventing childhood obesity and the health conditions that follow in maturity.
The best prevention strategy for obesity includes regular physical activity along with healthy eating. In addition, it is very important to sleep well, manage and control your stress levels and limit alcohol consumption (Youdim 2014).
According to a recent article published in New England Journal of Medicine, obese children are at a higher risk of having high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, along with high blood pressure and high levels of triglycerides in their blood- all markers for diabetes and heart diseases (Skinner et al., 2015).
Moreover, if you are obese, there is a higher chance that your child would have alterations in his DNA, that would make him more prone to chronic diseases later in life (Soubry et al., 2015).
1. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data Adult
2. Skinner AC, Perrin EM, Moss LA, Skelton JA. 2015. Cardiometabolic Risks and Severity of Obesity in Children and Young Adults. New England J Med 373 (14): 1307
3. Soubry A. Murphy SK, Wang F, Huang Z, Vidal AC, Fuemmeler BF, Kurtzberg J, Murtha A, Jirtle RL, Schildkraut JM and Hoyo C. 2015. Newborns of obese parents have altered DNA methylation patterns at imprinted genes. Intl J Obesity 39, 650–657
4. World Health Organization (WHO) Fact sheet N°311.2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/
5. Youdim A. 2014. Obesity.
6. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742
7. Aronne, L. J., and K. R. Segal. “Weight Gain in the Treatment of Mood Disorders.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 64 (2003 Supplement 8): 22–29.
8. Bell, S. J., and G. K. Goodrick. “A Functional Food Product for the Management of Weight.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 42 (March 2002): 163–178.
9. Pirozzo, S., C. Summerbell, C. Cameron, and P. Glasziou. “Ad- vice on Low-Fat Diets for Obesity (Cochrane Review).” Cochrane Database Systems Review 2002: CD003640.
10. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.
11. Schurgin, S., and R. D. Siegel.
“Pharmacotherapy of Obesity: An Update.” Nutrition in Clinical Care 6
(January-April 2003): 27–37.
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