Obesity is a preventable disease characterized by too much body fat. Obesity is different from being overweight, which is associated with weighing too much. Obesity is typically diagnosed when an individual’s BMI, or body mass index, is 30 or higher while overweight is typically diagnosed when BMI is greater than or equal to 25 in adults. Obesity and overweight can affect both children and adults. Obesity does increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders, and certain cancers. Obesity may also lower quality of life and may cause certain issues such as depression, social isolation, shame, guilt, etc. Overweight and obesity is associated with more worldwide deaths than being underweight.
Information obtained from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742
Obesity is caused by a variety of environmental, genetic, and dietary factors. Genetic, hormonal, metabolic, and behavioral factors all have an influence on an individual’s body weight. However, obesity is typically caused when an individual takes in more calories than he or she uses. These excess calories get stored as fat. Risk factors for obesity include lack of physical activity, poor dieting (eating a diet with excess calories, saturated and trans-fats, and sugars), high stress levels, lack of sleep, low socioeconomic status, certain chemical exposures, family history of obesity, pregnancy, and recent attempts to quit smoking.
The main symptoms of obesity include increased body mass index, increased waist circumference, and increased body fat.
Obesity is typically treated by health professionals who recommend weight loss and proper dieting. The goal in treating obesity is to help individuals reach and maintain a healthy weight. The initial goal is typically to reduce total weight by 5-10 percent, but the more weight lost, the better. Weight loss involves cutting calories and eating healthier foods while at the same time exercising regularly. Consistent dieting over time is the best way to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight. Fad diets and quick fixes typically do not work as permanent solutions. The recommendation for weekly exercise is at least 150 minutes per week, but the more an individual exercises, the greater chance he or she has to lose weight. Children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. Aiming to take at least 10,000 steps per day is a healthy goal to lose and maintain weight as well. To treat obesity and lose weight, certain medicines may be prescribed by a healthcare professional, and behavioral therapy such as counseling and support groups may be involved as well. In extreme cases, procedures such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastrectomy, etc. may be performed.
To help prevent obesity, it is important to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and healthy eating patterns, monitor your weight regularly, get a healthy amount of sleep, and see a doctor on a regular basis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 23). Overweight & obesity. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, November 18). Obesity. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Overweight and obesity. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/overweight-and-obesity.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, August 10). Obesity. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/obesity.html.
World Health Organization. (2021, June 9). Obesity and Overweight. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight.