Lifestyle changes, modern modes of recreation, changing modes of transportation, less activity, and longtime sitting still with devices, and changes in varieties of foods have contributed to overweight and obesity in human health.
The rate of growing obesity concerns today. Obesity has deep relations with many chronic severe cardiovascular diseases. It is necessary to take steps to protect yourself from life-threatening obesity regardless of your present health condition.
Our main goal of content is to help you know everything about obesity- obesity definition, its causes, risk factors, people at risk of obesity, childhood obesity, diagnosis, and treatments of obesity. Also, know how to prevent obesity, lose weight, and types of weight loss surgery from this article.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity definition is enough to clarify obesity- It is a medical condition with excess accumulated body fat potential to affect health negatively. Obesity isn’t just a made-up concern today. It is a complex health issue associated with excessive body fat.
Overweight and obesity can be defined similarly as a condition of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that carries a risk for health. Generally, a body mass index (BMI) over 25 is regarded as overweight, and over 30 is obese.
Rates of overweight and obesity are continuously increasing every day in adults and children. Records from 1975 to 2016 show that the numbers or spread of overweight or obese children and adolescents aged from 5–19 years increased more than four-fold from 4% to 18% worldwide. The increasing rates were nearly the same among boys and girls.
According to a new study led by Imperial College London and WHO, in the past 40 years, childhood and adolescent obesity- aged from 5 to 19 years- has increased tenfold worldwide. If this rate of obesity continues, obesity in children and adolescents will proliferate.
Obesity is a medical problem that increases the risk of other related diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers. Obesity is a metabolic condition. Obesity in America currently affects approximately 35% of all US adults.
Overweight and obesity were once a problem only in high-income rich countries. But today, they are dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban areas.
The immense majority of overweight or obese children are found in developing countries. In developing countries, the growth rate has increased more than 30% higher than in developed countries.
What Is Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is a health condition where excess accumulated body fat negatively affects a child’s health. For not having any easy method that directly determines body fat, the diagnosis of obesity is based on BMI (body mass index). Due to the increasing wideness of obesity in children and its many adverse effects on health, it is now a serious public health concern.
Childhood obesity is a severe, complex health issue. It generally occurs when a child has above the normal or healthy weight. The causes of excess weight gain in young people are not different from those in adults. They are similar, including behavior and genetics.
The imbalance of energy between calories consumed and calories expended is the primary cause of childhood overweight and obesity. Several factors are responsible for global increases in childhood obesity. A global change in diet towards increased intake of energy-dense foods high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals, and other healthy micronutrients is the first factor to increase obesity.
Gradual decreased physical activity levels for the increasingly sedentary lifestyle, changing modes of transportation, and growing urbanization is also substantial factors for childhood obesity.
How Is Obesity Classified?
Obesity classification is a way to rank obesity. Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has an adverse health effect. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies obesity based on body mass index (BMI).
Body mass index (BMI) is a weight-for-height index used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is identified as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in square meters (kg/m2). BMI is also evaluated as fat distribution by the waist-hip ratio and total cardiovascular risk factors.
There are several obesity classifications and obesity definitions. But classifications from the World Health Organization (WHO) based on body mass index (BMI) are the most widely accepted.
The WHO classifications are as follows:
- Weight status/ Classifications
- Below 18.5
Below 5th percentile
5th percentile to less than 85th percentile
85th percentile to less than 95th percentile
- 30.0 and higher
95th percentile or above
What Causes Obesity?
Different kinds of personal, socioeconomic, and environmental causes are responsible for obesity- diet, physical activity, automation, urbanization, medications, mental disorders, genetic susceptibility, endocrine disorders, economic policies, and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
There are strongly genetic, metabolic, behavioral, and hormonal influences on body weight. But obesity takes place if you consume more calories than you burn through exercises and normal daily activities. These excess calories accumulate in your body as fats and cause your obesity.
The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between ingested and expended calories. All over the world, there is-
- Increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in fat and sugars; and
- A decrease in physical activity for the growing sedentary nature of different types of work, changing modes of transportation, and rapidly increasing urbanization.
Changes in environment and society involving the development in sectors like health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education are also responsible for obesity as they often result in alterations in dietary and physical activity patterns.
Some factors that can help to cause obesity include:
- Poor diets
- Lack of exercise
- An inactive lifestyle, which means spending much time watching television, working on a computer, playing video games, working late hours at the office, driving rather than walking
- A family history
- Oversized or “supersized” food portions
- Negative emotions- sadness, boredom, or anger, which may impact eating habits.
Risk Factors Of Obesity
The risk factors of obesity are any attributes, characteristics, or exposures that amplify the probability of developing obesity in people. Psychological or behavioral risk factors and biomedical risk factors are particularly mentionable here.
Psychological or behavioral risk factors are those that people can change by their willingness and ability. But biomedical risk factors are the states of the body that are often impacted by behavioral risk factors.
Psychosocial Risk Factors Of Obesity
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Mental health treatment
- Quality of life and body image
- Physical abuse and emotional neglect
- Behavioral risk factors of obesity
- Physical activity,
- Dietary patterns,
- Medication use, and
- Other exposures- education and skills, the food and physical activity environment, and food marketing and promotion.
Biomedical Risk Factors
Biomedical risk factors are conditions of the body that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Abnormal levels of several biomedical factors are-
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal blood lipids
- Impaired glucose regulation
- Multiple biomedical risk factors
There is also another major category of obesity- Nutrition, which is found from a survey for Obesity in Washington State. It indicates the obesity in America, especially obesity in Washington State and the nation.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming:
- Low-fat dairy and meats
- A variety of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- And healthy fats within caloric needs
The guidelines also recommend limiting:
- Unhealthy fats
- Added sugars
Family Inheritance and Influences
The genes carried from your parents may affect the amount of your stored body fat and the place where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in your body’s conversion of food into energy, your body’s regulating your appetite, and burning calories during exercise.
Obesity tends to run in families, not just for sharing their genes. It is also for tending to share similar eating and activity habits of the family members.
- Unhealthy diet: A diet full of calories, with scanty fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, and loaded with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions is a considerable risk to lead to weight gain and obesity
- Liquid calories: Drinking many calories without feeling full, especially calories from alcohol and other high-calorie beverages, like sugared soft drinks, is a significant risk factor for weight gain and obesity.
- Inactivity: Due to a sedentary lifestyle, people are gradually saturating more calories every day than they can burn through exercise and daily activities. Working with computers, tablets, and phones for long hours is a passive activity that is a high risk for weight gain and obesity.
There are some other risk factors for obesity such as
- Certain diseases and medications
- Social and economic issues
- Quitting smoking
- Lack of sleep
- Previous attempts to lose weight
Who Is At Risk Of Obesity?
Many people have higher rates of obesity. Some other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers, and arthritis are often associated with overweight and obesity.
Anyone who doesn’t work with exercise or maintains an unbalanced diet may be at risk of obesity together with some conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Many people of different categories are at a higher risk of obesity, including those who are of
- age 60 and above
- families having obesity
- having sedentary lifestyle
- inactive or sitting still for long
- commuting to work by car
- having lack of sleep
- eating out made or fast foods or junk foods
- Latino migrant farmworkers
- Caucasians living in Appalachia
- American Indians/Alaska Natives living on reservations
- African-Americans living in the south
How Obesity Is Diagnosed?
To diagnose obesity, doctors measure BMI using calculations that depend on whether you are a child or an adult. The doctor may diagnose overweight and obesity depending on your medical history or physical exams to confirm that you have a high body mass index (BMI) and possibly a high waist circumference. The tests to find out other medical conditions.
At the time of your physical exam, the doctor will measure your weight and height to calculate your BMI. Your doctor may also take measures to your waist circumference to identify the amount of unhealthy fat in your belly.In adults, a waist circumference over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women who are not pregnant can help diagnose obesity and assess the risk of future complications.
When you are of South Asian or Central and South American descent, your doctor may use smaller waist circumference values to diagnose your obesity. People from these backgrounds often don’t expose signs or symptoms of a large waist circumference despite having unhealthy amounts of fat deep in their abdomens and being diagnosed with obesity.
How Obesity Is Treated?
Overweight or obesity can cause serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Breathing problems
- Kidney disease and kidney failure
- Digestive problems
- Sleep apnea
- Severe COVID-19 symptoms
So proper treatment is vital to lose weight and control obesity. Treatment for overweight and obesity depends on the cause and condition. Possible effective treatments may be healthy lifestyle changes, behavioral weight-loss treatment programs, medicines, or even possible surgery.
Dietary changes, behavior changes, and increased physical activity can help in your weight loss. But for rapid treatment, prescription medications and weight-loss procedures are some more options for obesity.
If healthy lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may use the FDA-approved medicines to treat your overweight and obesity. These medicines work in certain parts of your body. They are as follows-
- Brain: Several medicines change the way the brain regulates the urge to eat, which can help to reduce appetite and thus help you decrease weight and obesity. Some of these medicines are diethylpropion, lorcaserin, phendimetrazine, naltrexone/bupropion, and liraglutide.
- Gastrointestinal tract: The gastrointestinal tract combines and works with the digestive system. The only available medicine, orlistat blocks your intestines from absorbing fat from foods you eat and helps reduce weight and obesity.
Only weight-loss medicines are not recommended on their own. Because combined with lifestyle changes, these produce excellent benefits.
There remains a probability of some side effects, too, in the case of certain existing conditions. Talk to a doctor if you are pregnant, or getting pregnant, or breastfeeding, or belong to a family history of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
How To Lose Weight?
Although there are many diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans that claim to ensure rapid weight loss, most of them lack scientific evidence. However, some strategies backed by science can impact weight management and help you lose weight.
Some scientific research supporting methods of weight loss are as follows:
- Taking part in daily exercise and regular activity
- Trying intermittent fasting
- Eating mindfully
- Eating protein for breakfast
- Tracking your diet
- Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Eating plenty of fiber
- Drinking plenty of water
- Balancing gut bacteria
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Managing your stress levels
- Getting more active
- Not stocking junk food
- Cutting down on alcohol
If the above ways are not enough to lose weight, several types of weight-loss surgeries help lose weight.
Types Of Weight Loss Surgery
The common term “Bariatric surgery” is collectively used for many types of weight-loss surgeries. These surgeries alter your digestive system to help you lose weight. They either limit the amount of food you can consume or decrease your ability to absorb nutrition.
These types of surgeries are used when diets or exercise plans do not work well for the person or when they have some serious health condition for their overweight.
The types of surgeries that help a person’s weight loss depend on several factors. Currently, there are some different types of weight loss surgery. Three types of them are most commonly used. They are-
- Adjustable gastric band surgery
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery
- Sleeve gastrectomy surgery
Besides, there are other several types that surgeons less commonly use for weight-loss surgeries
- Intra-gastric balloon surgery
- Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch surgery
- Primary obesity surgery endoluminal.
Usually, they all are performed under general anesthetic (where you’re asleep) using keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery, but each of them is slightly different in working. When in keyhole surgery, a surgeon makes minor cuts in the tummy and puts a flexible viewing tube to see inside during the operation.
How To Prevent Obesity?
Overweight and obesity, and their associated diseases, are mostly preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in making people’s lifestyle choices. Choices of healthier foods and regular physical activity can help you prevent overweight and obesity.
- At the individual level, people can-
- Limit intake of energy from total fats and sugars;
- Increase eating fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts; and
- Take part in regular physical activity – 60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes for adults spreading through the week.
At the societal level, supporting individuals in following the recommendations above is essential. Sustained implementation of evidence-based and population-based policies can make regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices available, affordable, and easily accessible to everyone. A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages can be a good example here.
The food industry can help a lot in promoting healthy diets by:
- Decreasing the fat, sugar, and salt content of processed foods;
- Making sure that healthy and nutritious choices are readily available and affordable to all consumers
- Applying restrictions in the marketing of foods high in sugars, salt, and fats, especially foods for children and teenagers; and
- Assuring the availability of healthy food choices and supporting regular physical activity practices in the workplace.
Children and adults are recommended to be screened at least annually to see whether they have a high or increasing body mass index (BMI). It allows doctors to recommend healthy lifestyle changes to prevent overweight and obesity.
If your BMI indicates that you are getting close to becoming overweight, or if you have certain risk factors, you should adopt healthy lifestyle changes right away to prevent your obesity.
Overweight and obesity shouldn’t go untreated or uncontrolled. These bring with many severe and life-threatening diseases. Take pre-measures to treat, control, and prevent overweight and obesity and stay healthy.