There is a growing concern about obesity in the developed world, but especially in the United States. Such a condition results in a higher risk of serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. According to the recent research, almost 40% of American adults are clinically obese.
At the present time, obesity is defined as a body mass index, abbreviated as BMI, which exceeds 30. This index considers the weight and height of a particular person, though there are certain limitations to the use of this indicator. For example, this index doesn’t distinguish between excess fat, bone mass, and muscles. Nor does it account for such factors like age, ethnicity, and heritage.
Obviously, consuming more calories than you can actually burn via daily activities and exercising every day will lead to the accumulation of fat. Over time, those extra calories add up, resulting in an obesity. Common causes of obesity include:
- Not getting enough rest (sleeping), which results in hormonal changes that make you crave for high-carb foods
- Leading an inactive lifestyle
- Having a poor diet, consisting mostly of fats and carbs
- Ageing, whereas it leads to the less muscle mass and a slower metabolism, thus making it easier to gain weight
- Genetics, which can directly impact your metabolism
- Pregnancy (weight gained during the pregnancy may be difficult to get rid of later).
Additionally, there are certain medical conditions that might cause or exacerbate the obesity problem:
- Osteoarthritis (and other similar pain-causing conditions that lead to inactivity and lack of exercising)
- Hypothyroidism (your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of particularly important hormones)
- Crushing syndrome (caused by the excessive amount of such a hormone as cortisol)
- Prader-Willi syndrome (a rare medical condition an individual can be born with that causes extreme hunger)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as PCOS), which causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones.
Basically, all the risk factors can be divided into three common groups:
- Environment and community. The environment at your home, college, job or elsewhere may influence how much you eat, how often you eat, and what you eat. Unsafe neighborhoods also make it harder to go for a run or walk and, thus, lose calories.
- Genetics. Some individuals are born with genetic factors that make it difficult for them to lose weight.
- Psychological factors. The majority of anti-depressants may increase the risk of gaining weight. Depression is another factor that may lead to obesity, since individuals start consuming more food for emotional comfort.
- Other factors. Quitting smoking is definitely good. However, you should be aware that doing so might also exacerbate the problem with your weight. Certain medications, such as birth control pills or steroids, also increase the risk of suffering from obesity.
If you are obese and have been trying to reduce your weight without success, it is a good reason to try seeking medical help. Your therapist will get to know more about your problem and will, perhaps, refer you to a specialist. Common solutions include:
- Lifestyle and behavioral changes. This is, of course, easier said than done. But developing a healthy eating plan and be more picky about foods will definitely help you.
- Medical weight loss. In addition to the lifestyle changes, your doctor might decide to prescribe certain medications. Typically, medications are prescribed only if the other methods didn’t help and/or your BMI is 27 or higher. Such medications either suppress your hunger or prevent the absorption of fat, but all of them have nasty side effects.
- Weight loss surgery. If nothing helps, this surgery can be used as a radical method. However, it is a major surgery that carries serious risks to your health. It is not recommended to resort to the surgery, unless the benefits of it outweigh the risks.
Obesity is a medical condition that leads to a large variety of physical and psychological diseases and disorders. To start with, it increases the pressure on your bones and internal organs. Another factor is that it increases the bodily inflammation, which increases the risks of cancer.
Other common problems and medical disorders deriving from obesity include:
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- High cholesterol
- Fatty liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Certain types of cancer (endometrial, colon and breast)
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes.