Hello Fitness Freaks, What is Obesity? Obesity is an excess of body weight caused by overconsumption of calories and physical inactivity. Some other causes may include hormonal imbalances, stress, medical conditions, genetics, toxins, or a side effect of medications.
Today we’ll study deeply all about What is Obesity?
What is Obesity?
Obesity is one of the most pervasive, chronic diseases in need of new strategies for medical treatment and prevention. As a leading cause of United States mortality, morbidity, disability, healthcare utilization and healthcare costs, the high prevalence of obesity continues to strain the United States healthcare system.
Obesity is defined as excess adipose tissue. There are several different methods for determining excess adipose (fat) tissue; the most common being the Body Mass Index (BMI) (see below).
A fat cell is an endocrine cell and adipose tissue is an endocrine organ. As such, adipose tissue secretes a number of products, including metabolites, cytokines, lipids, and coagulation factors among others. Significantly, excess adiposity or obesity causes increased levels of circulating fatty acids and inflammation. This can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Types of Obesity
There are six different types of obesity.
Researchers have identified six ‘types’ of an obese person,” The Independent reports. It’s argued that each type would benefit from a targeted treatment programme for obesity, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
This study looked at data from more than 4,000 obese adults taking part in the Yorkshire Health Study. It aimed to see whether it was possible to categorize obese individuals according to common health and lifestyle characteristics.
The study reported six clusters of obese individuals. These were:
- Young Healthy Females – women who were obese, but generally had fewer obesity-related complications, such as type 2 diabetes
- Heavy-Drinking Males – as above, but with higher alcohol intake
- Unhappy and Anxious middle-aged – predominantly women with poor mental health and wellbeing
- Affluent and Healthy Elderly – generally positive health, but defining characteristics of higher alcohol intake and high blood pressure
- Physically Sick but Happy Elderly – older people with more chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, but good mental health
- Poorest Health – people who were the most economically deprived and had the greatest number of chronic diseases
This research suggests it may be better to recognize subgroups of obesity, rather than put all obese people into one category, which may help tailor interventions and treatments more effectively. The current study does not prove this hypothesis, though it is worth further investigation.
Causes of Obesity
Many people seem to think that weight gain and obesity are caused by a lack of willpower. That’s not entirely true. Although weight gain is largely a result of eating behavior and lifestyle, some people are at a disadvantage when it comes to controlling their eating habits.
Here are 10 factors that are leading causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease, many of which have nothing to do with willpower.
Obesity has a strong genetic component. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of lean parents.
That doesn’t mean that obesity is completely predetermined. What you eat can have a major effect on which genes are expressed and which are not
Engineered Junk Foods
Heavily processed foods are often little more than refined ingredients mixed with additives. These products are designed to be cheap, last long on the shelf and taste so incredibly good that they are hard to resist.
Stores are filled with processed foods that are hard to resist. These products also promote overeating.
Some people experience strong food cravings or addiction. This especially applies to sugar-sweetened, high-fat junk foods which stimulate the reward centers in the brain.
Food producers spend a lot of money marketing junk food, sometimes specifically targeting children, who don’t have the knowledge and experience to realize they are being misled.
High insulin levels and insulin resistance are linked to the development of obesity. To lower insulin levels, reduce your intake of refined carbs and eat more fiber.
Some medications may promote weight gain by reducing the number of calories burned or increased appetite.
Leptin, an appetite-reducing hormone, doesn’t work in many obese individuals.
In some areas, finding fresh, whole foods may be difficult or expensive, leaving people no choice but to buy unhealthy junk foods.
Scientists believe that excessive sugar intake may be one of the main causes of obesity.
The Bottom Line
An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
Symptoms and Signs of Obesity
The health risks associated with obesity include:
- breathing disorders (e.g., sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- certain types of cancers (e.g., prostate and bowel cancer in men, breast and uterine cancer in women)
- coronary artery (heart) disease
- gallbladder or liver disease
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- joint disease (e.g., osteoarthritis)
Treatment of Obesity
Doctors diagnose obesity by performing a general exam and learning about the patient’s personal/family medical history. The body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are routinely used to estimate “fatness”. The BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (kilograms) by the square of their height (meters); it is solely an estimate and not a direct measurement of body fat. The BMI is associated with weight in the following way:
- If Body Mass Index is below 18.5 = Underweight
- If Body Mass Index is 18.5-24.9 = Normal weight
- If Body Mass Index is 25.0-29.9 = Overweight
- If Body Mass Index is 30.0 or more = Obese
- Excess abdominal fat is also reflected in the waist circumference. The risk of obesity and related complications increases when the waist circumference measures over 35 inches for women, and over 40 inches in men.
- Obesity is treated by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet, exercise, medication and, in some cases, surgery. At-risk or obese children are encouraged to eat healthily and increase physical activity. Obese adults are advised to lose 5-10 percent of their body weight as an initial step in a comprehensive treatment plan that includes:
- Dietary changes. Choosing healthy foods and reducing caloric intake are key to losing weight. The ideal diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fats and includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. The recommended number of daily food calories varies for each person but is roughly 1,000-1,200 calories per day for women, and 1,200-1,600 calories per day for men.
- Physical activity. Doing 150-300 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week will help remove excess weight and maintain a healthy weight. Simple changes in habit that encourage more movement (e.g. gardening) also help burn calories.
- Behavior changes. It is important to identify and manage the triggers of hunger or unnecessary snacking. Counseling and support groups can facilitate this process and help patients manage their food cravings.
- Medication. Obese patients who cannot reduce their weight with diet and exercise alone are candidates for prescription drugs that curb hunger or reduce fat absorption.
- Surgery. Extremely obese patients or those with serious weight-related complications may consider weight-loss surgery. Although surgery offers excellent results with respect to weight loss and maintenance, it carries important risks. Surgical procedures work by either reducing the stomach’s holding capacity (gastric banding, gastric sleeve), reducing fat absorption through the small intestine (biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch), or both (gastric bypass).
Prevention of Obesity
The best way to maintain a healthy weight is through regular exercise and a balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and added sugars. It is also important to address medical or environmental factors that trigger hunger and inactivity.
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