What Is Obesity?

Obesity is a chronic condition where an excess amount of body fat is accumulated in the body of a person, which might cause negative effects on health. It is not just a cosmetic concern; it is a complex condition that increases the risk of various health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Fortunately, even the modest weight loss can prevent or improve the health conditions linked to obesity. Dietary changes, behavior changes and increased physical activity can help to lose weight. Prescription medicines and weight-loss surgery are additional treatment options for obesity.

The main sign of obesity is an above-average weight of the body.

If you are suffering from obesity, you may also experience:

  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Sleep apnea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Varicose veins
  • Skin problems due to the accumulation of moisture in the folds of skin
  • Osteoarthritis especially in the knees

Various factors as genetics, behavior, and hormones can cause obesity. However, exactly obesity occurs when your calorie consumption is more than you burn through normal daily activities and exercise. The extra calories are stored as fats.

The principal causes of obesity are:

  • Inactivity: Lack of physical activity is one of the major factors responsible for causing obesity. Most of the people tend to watch TV, play computer games and browse the internet for relaxation. Many people have sitting jobs for most of the day and they rely on their cars, rather than walking. Therefore, due to inactivity, they are not able to use the energy provided by the food they eat, and the extra energy they consume is stored as fat in the body.
  • Unhealthy diet: Following eating habits are largely responsible for causing obesity:
    • Eating excess amounts of processed or fast food rich in sugar and fat
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Eating out a lot, temptations to have a starter or dessert in a restaurant that is higher in fat and sugar
    • Eating larger portions than required
    • Drinking too much of the sugary drinks
    • Comfort eating, if a person is depressed, to feel better

Following factors can increase the risk for obesity:

  • Genetics: Genetics factors can contribute a lot in increasing the risk of obesity.
  • Environment: Environment at your home, at school, and in the community can influence your eating habits and physical activity.
  • Pregnancy: During the gestation period, the weight of women necessarily increases. This weight gain increases the risk of developing obesity.
  • Psychological and Other Factors:
  • Sometimes conditions like depression can result in weight gain; a person turns to food for emotional comfort.
  • However, quitting smoking is a good thing, but it can lead to weight gain. Therefore, a person must focus on diet and exercise while quitting.
  • Medicines such as steroids and some antidepressants can increase your risk of developing obesity.

Obese people are more prone to develop a number of serious medical conditions including:

  • High triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Breathing disorders
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gynecological problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Certain Cancers
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • sexual health issues

Also, the obesity affects the overall quality of life. Obese people may not be able to do things, which they used to do, like taking part in enjoyable activities. Other weight-related issues that can affect your life include:

  • Depression
  • Lower work achievement
  • Disability
  • Shame
  • Social isolation

Following are the ways to diagnose obesity:

  • Body mass index: To diagnose the obesity, BMI (body mass index) is diagnosed. BMI is based on the height and weight of a person. A BMI of 30 or more describes obesity and generally, this means that the body weight is 35% to 40% more than the ideal weight of the body.
  • Body fat: It can also be calculated by using skin calipers, which are instruments that measure the thickness of the skin.
  • Body shape: Individuals who have most of their weight around the waist have a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes than the individuals that have big hips and thighs.
  • Waist circumference: Women who have a waist more than 35 inches or men that have a waist more than 40 inches are at increased risk of obesity.

Obesity can be treated by lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery.

  • Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes as doing regular exercise and eating low-calorie diet plays a great role in losing excess weight.
  • Medicines: There are certain medicines available to treat obesity. Some of them act by decreasing the fat absorption during digestion while others act by suppressing appetite. It is important to use these medicines along with decreased calorie intake and increased exercise.
  • Surgery: Bariatric surgery can be helpful in case of some people to lose weight by changing the way of digestion and absorption of food by the body.

Common bariatric surgeries include:

  • Gastric bypass surgery: In this surgery, the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach and then cuts the small intestine a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Therefore, the food and liquid flow directly from the pouch to this part of the intestine, bypassing most of the stomach.
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding: In this surgical procedure, the stomach is separated into two pouches with an inflatable band and then the band is pulled tight. The surgeon creates a small channel between the two pouches and the band keeps the opening from expanding. This is usually formed to stay in place permanently.
  • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch: This surgical procedure starts with the removal of a large part of the stomach. The surgeon leaves the valve, which releases food to the small intestine and the duodenum. Then the middle section of intestine is closed off by the surgeon and attached the last part directly to the duodenum. The separated section of the intestine is reattached to the end of the intestine to allow bile and digestive juices to flow.
  • Gastric sleeve: In this surgery, the part of the stomach is removed and a smaller reservoir is created for food. It is comparatively less complicated surgery.
  • Liposuction: In this surgical procedure a hollow instrument, called a cannula is used to remove the fat. The cannula is inserted under the skin and a powerful, high-pressure vacuum is applied to it.

Even if you are not at the risk of becoming obese or at a healthy weight, you can opt some ways to prevent obesity. The ways to prevent obesity are same as for losing weight.

  • Exercise regularly: Choose moderately intense physical activities as swimming and fast walking to prevent weight gain.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan: Avoid saturated fats and limit your sweet and alcohol consumption. Prefer to eat a low-calorie diet, such as whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Monitor weight regularly: Weighing your weight at least once a week helps you in keeping off excess pounds. This happens because you are able to detect small changes in weight before they become big enough to cause problems.
  • Be consistent: If you want to achieve long-term success, then stick to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends and holidays.