Overweight and obesity is a medical condition where large amounts of excess body fat has gradually accumulated on the body and has a negative impact on your health, which increases your risk to chronic diseases, such as; type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease (heart disease), sleep apnea, stroke, arthritis, cancer, which all lower a person’s life expectancy. Obesity is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in North America. Globally there are 1 billion overweight adults, and at least 300 million of them clinically obese, with many of the chronic diseases listed above. 1 in 4 adults have obesity and 1 in 10 children have clinical obesity.
The good news is, there are ways to improve or prevent the health problems that are associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight, as well as help you change your overall lifestyle to prevent you from future weight gain. Prescription medications, and weight-loss surgery are additional options for treating obesity.
People are considered obese when their Body Mass Index (BMI); a measurement of dividing a person’s weight in Kg, by a person’s height in meters squared, is 30 or higher. BMI is an estimate of body fat, but for some people such as muscular athletes, they may have a BMI in the obese category but don’t have excess body fat. You should consider seeing your family physician if you feel you may be obese, or falling into a bad lifestyle which may lead to obesity.
Obesity is generally caused by eating too much unhealthy foods and moving too little. There are many different factors which may cause obesity which include; poor diet, low physical activity, poor lifestyle, genetics, illnesses and medications, and psychological factors; such as, poor social life, low self-esteem and stress.
The average physically active male needs approximately 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, while women need approximately 2,000 calories a day. People who are obese, eat many more calories than what your body needs on average in a day. If you are consuming high amounts of fat, sugars, and carbohydrates in your diet, eating big portions, fast-food meals, and do not burn off this excess energy through physical activity, this left over energy, which is calculated in calories is stored in the body as fat. Examples of poor diet choices are:
Lifestyle and physical activity
Low or lack of physical activity plays a huge role in obesity. Currently 30% of the world’s population doesn’t get enough exercise. This is due to there being many more less physically demanding work, such as sitting at a desk all day. People also prefer taking their vehicle for travel, instead of cycling. People who spend a lot of time watching TV tend to have a greater chance of weight gain because they tend to eat more, not paying attention to what their eating, and they aren’t being physically active. Keeping active can help people maintain a healthy lifestyle or lose weight. It lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stoke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and cancers as well as reduce stress, and help you sleep better. Inactive lifestyles of someone who is obese, does the opposite. It is recommended for good health that adults should get about two and a half to three and a half hours of moderate to intense physical exercise each week including aerobics and muscle and bone strengthening activities. For health benefits, children need more exercise than adults do, up to an hour of physical activity daily!
Obesity may also be the result of both genetics and environmental factors. There are genes which control appetite and metabolism which will have a slight effect on your weight and cause obesity such as different types of syndromes. Some genetic traits may be inherited from your parents such as having a large appetite, it may make losing weight more difficult but having a large appetite can be changed and can make it possible for you to lose weight. In most cases, obesity has more to do with environmental factors, such as poor eating habits taught throughout childhood. Again, this can be changed and new habits can be taught to help you lose weight.
Illnesses and Medications
There are different medical conditions and medications for illness which contribute to obesity. Examples include:
Smoking has a significant effect on weight. Men who quit smoking gain on average 9.7 lbs. and women gain an average of 11 lbs. over ten years.
Malnutrition in early life during childhood has had a higher role in the increased rate of obesity. Hormone gland changes that happen during malnutrition may also promote the storage of fat once more food energy becomes available.
People with lack of a social life are also more likely to be obese. They may have already been obese as children due to family lifestyles, and have been teased as children and become depressed, they tend to eat more to make themselves feel better at the time, but after eating having themselves feeling low.