Obesity
35 Case Studies
2 Member Stories
96 Research

Obesity is a complex disorder involving excess body weight. It has major medical implications and increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and higher blood pressure. Dietary changes, improved physical activity, and behavioral changes can help you shed the extra weight.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a complex disease that involves an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't only a cosmetic concern. It's a health problem that raises your risk of different diseases and health issues, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers.

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.

There are various reasons why some individuals have difficulty avoiding obesity. Typically, obesity results from a combination of inherited factors, together with the surroundings and personal diet and exercise options.

The good thing is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent health problems related to obesity. Dietary changes increased physical activity, and behavior changes can help you drop weight. Prescription drugs and weight loss procedures are additional choices for treating obesity.

See: How to lose visceral fat vs subcutaneous fat

What causes obesity?

Although there are genetic, behavioral, hormonal, and metabolic influences on body fat, obesity occurs when you consume more calories than you end up burning through exercise and normal daily activities. These extra calories are stored as fat. Many Americans' diets are too high in calories from fast food and high-calorie beverages. Individuals with obesity may eat more calories before feeling full, hungry sooner, or consuming more because of stress or anxiety.

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 an 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 an individual's diet may have a greater impact on weight than how many calories the food contains. Carbohydrates like bread, 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. 

See: How to lose belly fat naturally

Obesity symptoms

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 excessive weight gain along with the presence of large amounts of fatty tissues. If you are concerned about weight-related health issues, ask your physician about obesity management. Your doctor can help to evaluate your health risks and talk about your weight-loss alternatives.

See: Modified Sun Salutations as a Suitable Yoga Practice for Obesity

Obesity risk factors

Obesity can usually result from a combination of several causes and contributing factors:

- Family inheritance and affects: The genes you inherit from your parents might impact the quantity of body fat you shop, and where that fat is distributed. Genetics can play a role in how effectively your body converts food into energy. Another factor is how your body regulates your appetite and how your body burns calories through exercise. Obesity tends to run in families. That's not just due to the genes they share. Family members also often share similar eating and activity habits.

Lifestyle options:

- Unhealthy diet. A diet that's high in carbs lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, and laden with high-calorie drinks and oversize portions contributes to weight reduction.

- Liquid calories. People may drink many calories without feeling complete, especially calories from alcohol. Other high-calorie drinks, such as sugared soft drinks, can promote significant weight gain.

- Inactivity. When you've got a sedentary lifestyle, it is simple to take in more calories daily than you burn through exercise and regular daily activities. Looking at pc, tablet, and phone displays is a sedentary activity. The amount of hours spent in front of a computer display is highly related to weight gain.

- Certain diseases and drugs: In some individuals, obesity can be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing syndrome, and other ailments. Medical problems like arthritis can also lead to diminished activity, which might lead to weight gain. Some medications may result in weight gain if you don't compensate through diet or activity. These medicines include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids, and beta-blockers.

- Age: Obesity can happen at any age, even in young children. However, as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle raise your risk of obesity. Additionally, the amount of muscle on your body will decrease with age. Generally, lower muscle mass contributes to a drop in metabolism. These changes also reduce calorie requirements and can make it more challenging to keep off extra weight. If you do not consciously control what you eat and be more physically active as you get older, you will likely gain weight.

- Social and economic problems: Social and/or economic factors are typically linked to obesity. Preventing obesity is difficult if you do not have safe areas to walk or workout. Similarly, you might not have been educated about healthy cooking methods, or you might not have access to healthy foods. Additionally, the people you spend time with will influence your weight -- you are more likely to develop obesity when you have relatives or friends.

Other variables:

- Pregnancy. Weight gain is normal during pregnancy. Some women find this burden hard to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may result in the growth of obesity in girls. Breast-feeding might be the best choice to eliminate the weight gained during pregnancy.

- Microbiome. Your gut bacteria are influenced by what you eat and might promote weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

- Previous attempts to drop weight. Past efforts of weight loss followed by rapid weight regain may lead to additional weight gain. This phenomenon of yo-yo dieting can slow your metabolism.

- Stopping Smoking. Quitting smoking is often associated with weight reduction. And for some, it may result in enough weight gain to be eligible as obesity. Usually, this occurs as people use food to deal with smoking withdrawal. In the long term, however, quitting smoking remains a more significant benefit to your health than is continuing to smoke. Your health care provider can help.

- Lack of sleep. Not having an adequate sleep or too much sleep may cause changes in hormones that increase your desire. You could also crave foods high in carbohydrates and calories, which can result in weight gain.

- Stress. Many external factors that influence your mood and wellbeing can result in obesity. We often seek more high-calorie meals when undergoing stressful conditions.

Even if you have at least one of those risk factors, it does not mean that you are destined to develop obesity. It is possible to counteract most risk factors through diet, physical activity and exercise, and behavior changes.

See: How to lose 100 pounds safely

Natural treatments for obesity

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 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.

See: Ayurveda for stress & anxiety relief

Can you prevent obesity?

Prevention of obesity

Whether you're in danger of obesity, now overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take action to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health issues. Unsurprisingly, the steps to avoid weight gain are just like the steps to get rid of weight: daily exercise, a healthy diet, and a long term devotion to watch what you eat and drink.

- Exercise regularly. You will need to have 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity action weekly to avoid weight gain. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking and swimming pool.

- Follow a healthy-eating plan. Focus on low-carb, nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stay away from saturated fat and limit alcohol and sweets.  You can still enjoy little amounts of high fat, high-calorie meals as an occasional treat. Just make sure to choose foods that encourage a healthy weight and good health most of the time.

- Know and prevent the food traps that enable you to eat. Identify situations that activate out-of-control eating. Consider keeping a journal and write down everything you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you are feeling, and how hungry you are. After a time, you should see patterns emerge. You may plan and develop strategies for handling these kinds of situations and control your eating behaviors.

- Monitor your weight regularly. Individuals who weigh themselves at least once per week are more effective in keeping off excess pounds. Monitoring your weight can tell you if your efforts are working and help you discover small weight gains until they become significant issues.

- Be consistent. Sticking to a healthy-weight strategy at all times increases your odds of long-term success.

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 of 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 burned off at a rapid rate for many hours. Ultimately, encouraging healthy habits in kids is 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).

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Obesity Science & Research

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).

See: How to lower cholesterol naturally

References


1. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data    Adult Obesity Facts

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4. World Health Organization (WHO) Fact sheet N°311.2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/

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See: Udvartana Ayurvedic Weight Loss Massage

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