Obesity: What You Need to Know

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An enduring (chronic) medical disease that becomes worse with time is obesity. Adipose tissue, or excess body fat, is what defines obesity and can have negative health effects.

The body mass index (BMI) is a metric used to assess body size that accounts for both height and weight. Usually, doctors utilise it as a tool for obesity screening.

A BMI of 30 or above is commonly used to identify obesity in adults, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Serious illnesses like the following are linked to an increased risk of obesity:

  • diabetes type 2
  • heart conditions
  • Tumours

Although BMI is a useful tool for assessing body fat, it is not without limits.

The association between BMI and body fat can be influenced by several factors, including age, sex, ethnicity, and muscle mass, according to the CDC(Centres for Disease Control and Prevention). Furthermore, BMI doesn’t identify between extra fat, muscle, or bone mass; it also doesn’t show how fat is distributed among people.

Despite these drawbacks, body mass index (BMI) is still a commonly used indicator of body size. This is because compared to other approaches, it is less costly.

It’s important to remember that discrimination based on weight might have detrimental repercussions on one’s health.

To find out more about the causes, risk factors, and treatments of obesity, continue reading.

What signs of obesity are present?

There aren’t any particular signs and symptoms connected to obesity. Based on the following, a physician may make an obesity diagnosis:

Extra visceral body fat in the abdomen that exceeds the amount in other body parts

A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men more than 30 BMI



How is obesity classified?

A BMI of 18.5 or below indicates an underweight state;

25 to 30 – overweight;

18.5 to 25 – normal weight

30–35 – class 1 obesity

35–40 – class 2 Obesity

40 or higher – class 3 extremely obese

What causes obesity?

Obesity can develop over time if you consume more calories overall than you expend via exercise and everyday activities. These additional calories pile up over time and result in weight gain.

However, leading a sedentary lifestyle or counting calories in and out isn’t the only factor to consider. Although you can manage certain reasons for obesity, those are not the only ones.

Obesity’s common specific causes include:

genetics: which can have an impact on how your body stores fat and converts food into energy

ageing: which might result in a decrease in muscle mass and a reduced metabolic rate, which makes weight gain easier

little sleep: which can cause hormonal changes that increase your appetite and make you seek items high in calories.

elevated stress levels: which may cause your body to produce chemicals that make you eat more and store more fat

pregnancy: weight acquired during pregnancy can be hard to remove and eventually result in obesity

Obesity may result from weight increase caused by certain medical disorders. These consist of:

  • Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing certain major health diseases. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol, and extra fat around the waist.
  • An imbalance of hormones known as androgens is the cause of PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Prader-Willi syndrome is an uncommon illness that causes insatiable appetite from infancy.
  • Cushing syndrome is a disorder brought on by elevated cortisol levels in the body; hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a disorder in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough of a few key hormones.
  • osteoarthritis (OA) and other painful disorders that might cause a person to become less active

Who is susceptible to obesity?

A person’s risk of obesity can be increased by a complicated combination of circumstances.

Genetics

Certain individuals are genetically predisposed to an increased risk of weight gain and body fat.

Surroundings and society

How and what you consume, as well as how active you are, may all be influenced by your surroundings at home, at school, and in your community.

Obesity may be more likely to strike you if you:

  • reside in an area where there are few healthy food alternatives or plenty of high-calorie food options, such as fast-food restaurants
  • lack the ability to prepare well-balanced meals
  • you don’t think you can afford more wholesome meals
  • have not located a reliable source for a nice neighbourhood spot for exercise, recreation, or a stroll

Psychological factors

Gaining weight can occasionally result from depression since some people use food as a coping mechanism.

An inability to sleep might cause you to consume more during the day, particularly high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals.

If you smoke, giving it up is good for your health, but it might also make you gain weight. Some individuals may have significant weight gain as a result of it. Because of this, it’s critical to concentrate on your food and exercise when you’re quitting, at least following the initial phase of withdrawal.

Medication

Additionally, several drugs increase your chance of gaining weight. These drugs may consist of:

  • steroids, which have the potential to cure autoimmune diseases
  • an antidepressant
  • antidepressants
  • beta-blockers, which can be used to treat hypertension

Which issues arise from obesity?

More than only weight increase can result from obesity.

Your internal organs and bones are strained when you have a high body fat-to-muscle ratio. Additionally, it makes the body more inflammatory, which might be a risk factor for cancer. Another significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity.

Numerous health issues have been connected by researchers to obesity, some of which are potentially fatal if left untreated:

  • diabetes type 2
  • heart conditions
  • elevated blood pressure
  • certain malignancies, including endometrial, colon, and breast
  • a stroke
  • gallbladder dysfunction
  • fatty liver illness
  • elevated cholesterol
  • Among other breathing issues, sleep apnea
  • rheumatism
  • infertility



How can one cure obesity?

Medical assistance is available if you are obese and would like to reduce weight but have not been able to do it on your own. Consult your primary care physician first, as they might be able to direct you to a local weight-loss expert.

To assist you in losing weight, a doctor could also choose to collaborate with you. A therapist, dietician, or other medical personnel may be on that team.

Your doctor will work with you to implement the necessary lifestyle adjustments. Occasionally, they could also suggest weight-loss surgery or medication. Find out more about obesity therapy.

When a child is obese, doctors usually suggest modifying their lifestyle and behaviour to help them lose weight. Sometimes, physicians may write prescriptions.

Which alterations to behaviour and way of life can aid in weight loss?

A medical team can offer dietary suggestions and assist in creating a healthy eating schedule that suits your needs. A long-term eating plan may help you lose weight and maintain a moderate weight, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Increasing your daily activity to 150 to 300 minutes a week—a planned exercise program—will help you gain strength, endurance, and a faster metabolism.

Support groups or counselling can also help you recognise triggers and manage problems associated with:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • eating out of emotion



How can obesity be avoided?

Communities, states, and the federal government are emphasising healthy food choices and activities to help prevent obesity and treat individuals who are overweight or obese due to a sharp rise in obesity and obesity-related disorders.

You may avoid gaining weight and being obese by:

  • engaging in 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, such as walking, swimming, or riding
  • Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and other nutritional foods that promote heart health and balance
  • consuming meals heavy in calories and fats, including saturated and trans, in moderation



For more health-related content, please check our health section here.

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