Obesity is defined as having a weight that is 20% or more above the ideal body weight or having a body mass index (BMI) of 30- 39, above 40 is extremely obese. BMI is a way to evaluate weight in relation to height and is used as a predictor of chronic diseases. BMI can be calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters or 703 times weight in pounds divided by the square of height in inches.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is the result of one or more factors: genetic, psychological, social, cultural, economic, or physiological.
Genetically linked factors, such as low basal metabolic rate or BMR, excess fat distribution, and obese parents, place the person at risk for obesity.
Social / Cultural
Socio cultural norms influence eating habits; some cultures place a high value on excess weight.
Food abundance, convenience stores, fast- food choices, larger portion sizes, and vending machines have provided a challenging environment for weight management.
Some people overeat in response to emotional stress or eat whenever food is available rather than in response to hunger. Technical advances such as drive- through dining, cable channels, elevators, and snow blowers contribute to less energy expenditure.
Dangers of Obesity
Unfortunately obesity is also associated with a number of dangerous situations for your health including back pain, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Obesity and Back Pain
Obesity is also a major cause of back pain. The pain gets worse when obese people try to exercise in order to lose weight. In such cases the only way to reduce the weight is through changes in diet and eating habits. Once the extra weight is lost back pain is eliminated.
Obesity and Cancer
Obesity is associated with various forms of cancer (colon, kidney, and gallbladder) as well as breast cancers. Dietary substances associated with an increased cancer risk include fats, alcohol, salt- cured or smoked meats, and high caloric dietary intakes which are all precipitating factors that results to obesity.
Obesity and Diabetes
For obese diabetic patients, weight loss is the key for treatment and is also the major factor in preventing the occurrence of diabetes. Obesity is associated with an increased resistance to insulin, some obese people (Type 2 diabetes) who require insulin or oral agents to control blood glucose levels may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for medication through weight loss; a weight loss as small as 10% of total weight may significantly improve blood glucose levels.
Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases
As fat accumulates in the body, it could also clog arteries which prevent blood supply to the heart causing myocardial infarction or heart attack. Because of this, important strategies for managing cardiovascular risk factors should be done, this include dietary modifications, exercise, careful monitoring, and weight loss. Diets that are low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and calories should be religiously observed.
People who are obese are at a higher risk for health complications such as arthritis, asthma, pressure ulcers and bronchitis. Also, they frequently suffer from low self- esteem, impaired body image, and depression.
Since obesity is the accumulation of excess fat in the body, it has been a major health problem world-wide because it leads to or intensifies multiple organic health problems. Regular exercise and balanced diet are key factors to prevent obesity, thus the key to live a longer and happier life.