Obesity is a very dangerous epidemic that exposes people to serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Obesity is spread in various parts of the world and in very large numbers.
We define obesity as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a calculation that takes a person’s weight and height into account.
However, BMI has some limitations. Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and muscle mass can influence the relationship between BMI and body fat.
Also, BMI does not distinguish between excess fat, muscle, or bone mass, nor does it provide any sign of the distribution of fat between individuals. Despite these limitations, BMI continues to be used widely as an indicator of excess weight.
What causes obesity?
Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (in the long run) leads to obesity. Over time, these extra calories are stored and thus weight gain.
Common specific causes of obesity include:
- Eat a diet low in foods high in fat and calories.
- Having an unstable lifestyle.
- Not getting enough sleep, which can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel hungry and crave some high-calorie foods.
- Genetics, which can affect how the body processes food and how fat is stored.
- Older age, which leads to decreased muscle mass and metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight.
- Pregnancy – it’s difficult to lose the weight gained during pregnancy and may ultimately lead to obesity.
Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. These cases include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This condition causes an imbalance in the balance of female reproductive hormones.
- Prader-Willi syndrome: It is a rare condition in which an individual is born and causes excessive hunger.
- Cushing’s syndrome: This condition is caused by an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in your system.
- Hypothyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the important hormones.
- Osteoporosis: and other conditions that cause pain that may lead to lethargy.
Who is most at risk of obesity?
Genetic, environmental and psychological factors can increase the risk of obesity.
Genetics: Some people have genetic factors that make it difficult for them to lose weight.
Environment and Society: Whether at home, school or your community, your environment can affect what you eat and how active you are daily. Maybe you haven’t learned to cook healthy meals or you don’t think you can buy healthy foods. If your neighborhood is insecure, you may not find a good place to play, walk or run.
Psychological and other factors: Depression can sometimes lead to weight gain, as people turn to food for emotional comfort. Some antidepressants can increase the risk of weight gain.
It’s good to quit smoking: But quitting smoking can also lead to weight gain. Therefore, it is important to focus on diet and exercise while quitting smoking.
Medicines such as steroids or birth control pills can also put you at a higher risk of weight gain.
How is obesity diagnosed?
Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more. BMI is a rough calculation of a person’s weight in relation to their height.
Other more accurate measurements of body fat distribution, skin thickness, waist-to-hip comparisons, and screening tests such as ultrasound, CT and MRI scans include more accurate measurements.
Your doctor may also order some tests to help diagnose obesity, and the health risks associated with it. These may include blood tests to check cholesterol and glucose levels, liver function tests, diabetes screening, thyroid tests, and heart tests such as an electrocardiogram.
Measuring the fat around your waist either with your hand or with a caliper is also a good indicator of your risk of developing obesity-related diseases.
What are the disadvantages of obesity?
Obesity leads to excess weight. Having a high percentage of body fat stresses the bones and the internal organs. It also increases inflammation in the body, which is believed to cause cancer.
Obesity is also a major cause of type 2 diabetes. It have linked it to several health complications, some of which lead to death:
- Type 2 diabetes.
- heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Some types of cancer (breast, colon, and endometriosis).
- Brain attack.
- Gallbladder diseases.
- Fatty liver disease.
- High harmful cholesterol.
- Sleep apnea and other breathing problems.
How we treat obesity ?
If you are obese and could not lose weight on your own, seek medical help. Start with your family doctor, who may refer you to a weight specialist in your area. Your doctor may also want to work with you as part of a team that helps you lose weight.
This team may include a dietitian, therapist, or other healthcare staff. Your doctor will work with you to make lifestyle changes. Sometimes they may recommend medication or weight-loss surgery as well.
Changes in lifestyle and behavior:
You may also resort to changing your lifestyle. You can use the medical team to help you develop a healthy eating plan that suits you. A structured exercise program and an increase in daily activity up to 300 minutes a week will help you build your strength, endurance and metabolism.
Medical weight loss:
Your doctor may also prescribe some weight-loss medications besides healthy eating and exercise plans. Medicines are only prescribed if other methods of losing weight have not worked or if you have a BMI of 27 or more than well as obesity-related health problems.
Prescription weight-loss drugs prevent fat absorption or suppress the appetite. These medications can also have harmful side effects. Therefore, before trying any medication, consult your doctor.
Weight loss surgery:
Weight-loss surgery, commonly known as “bariatric surgery”, requires a commitment from patients to change their lifestyle. These surgeries work by limiting the amount of food you can comfortably eat or by preventing your body from absorbing food and calories.
Weight-loss surgery is not a quick fix. It is a major surgery and can lead to serious risks. After surgery, the patient will need to change how they eat and how much they eat, or risk getting sick.
Those eligible for weight loss surgery will have a BMI of 40 or more, it may also have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 along with serious health problems related to obesity.
Often patients have to lose weight before undergoing surgery. Patients undergo counseling to ensure that they emotionally prepared for this surgery and ready to make the lifestyle changes that it requires.
How can you prevent obesity?
You must prevent weight gain by following a good lifestyle. You should do moderate exercise (walking, swimming, and cycling) for 20 to 30 minutes every day.
Eat well by choosing nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Eat foods high in fat and calories in moderation.
To Read: Harm of Fast Food on The Body