Health

FIND OUT HOW TO TACKLE OBESITY NOW!

iMEDHealth

Obesity is the next ‘big’ thing, and not in a good way! To put things into context, worldwide obesity has tripled in the past 40 years or so. According to a report released by the WHO, ‘most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kill MORE people than malnutrition’. That is unbelievable!

 

What’s the difference between being overweight and obese?

The terms overweight and obesity are often used synonymously, without realizing that there’s a slight distinction. Both conditions refer to abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Then how do you know which category you belong to?

 

How do you measure your body fat?

Well, a standardized formula known as BMI or body mass index of weight-for-height is used has been devised to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is calculated by using a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).

BMI is used all over the world and is the most useful indicator of overweight and obesity for adults since it is the same for adults of all ages. For adults:

  • overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25
  • obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30

For children however, age is another factor (in addition to weight and height) that is used for classification purposes. Pediatricians all over the world use child growth standard charts and tables developed by the WHO. They are used to assess the growth pattern in children under 5 years of age and those from 5-19.

               

What are the causes of obesity?

Obesity is not an illness or a disease. It is a condition or a state that you bring upon yourself most of the time. The most common cause of obesity is obvious; eating too much and lying around on the couch all day waiting for your food to digest itself.

Consumption of high amounts of energy i.e. food comprising mostly of fat and sugar is bound to take a toll on your health. Most of the extra energy that isn’t used up or excreted from the body is stored as fat. Obesity occurs across every age, race and sex. It spares no one.

There has been a steady rise is in obesity prevalence over the past few decades. Initially, it was thought that overweight and obesity were rampant in high income and developed populations, but research suggests that obesity occurs in low income urban populations as well. 

 

Besides overeating, other factors that contribute to obesity are:

 

  • Genetics: This is a topic of debate among experts, but some say that you are likely to be prone to obesity if your parents are obese. Genetics also plays a role in managing hormones that regulate fat metabolism. For instance, certain genes are responsible for leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone that is found in fat cells and placenta. It signals the brain and tells it to ‘eat less’ when the body has sufficient fat reserves. Inadequate production of leptin fails to provide this inhibitory response to over-eating resulting in weight gain.

 

  • Medication: Most common medicine that causes weight gain is that for diabetes (insulin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones) that are used to lower blood sugar levels. Antidepressants, anti-convulsants and hormones such as steroids, oral contraceptives also contribute to weight gain.

 

  • Sedentary lifestyle: People who remain inactive and don’t burn as much calories as they consume are going to gain weight due to surplus fat deposition.

 

  • Psychological factors: Some people resort to stress eating and succumb to their emotions and allow them to navigate their eating habits. Excessive eating is common in situations such as boredom, depression, and anger, a phenomenon often referred to as ‘binge eating’.

 

  • Hormonal imbalances: Diseases which are hormone dependent usually lead to weight gain. Common conditions include Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome.

 

What are the symptoms of obesity?

Battling obesity and even being overweight can be a daily challenge. Gaining weight not only affects your body but threatens your strength, potential and power. Here are some obesity symptoms that one may experience on a day to day basis:

  • Increasing fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Snoring
  • Increased sweating with minimal activity
  • Inability to bear sudden physical activity
  • Joint pains especially in weight bearing joints such as knees and back
  • Low self-esteem and low level of confidence

The signs of obesity become evident as soon as the first couple of pounds are gained. Unfortunately, once the effects of obesity are put into motion, they become part of a vicious cycle. Routine tasks become increasingly difficult and the pounds continue to pile up.

Are there any side effects of obesity?

Yes! Suffering from overweight symptoms initially then transitioning into obesity can be catastrophic for the human body and mind! The changes that come with this evolution can go unnoticed amidst all the other problems on the surface. A few conditions that can cause harm to your health are:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol levels
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke and paralysis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis
  • Cancers such as liver, gallbladder, ovarian, and breast

The risk of these diseases increases with higher BMIs. In a report released by WHO, obesity is causing a ‘double burden of disease’ in low and middle-income populations. Countries which already suffer from malnutrition and infectious diseases are experiencing an increase in overweight and obesity as well. Undernutrition and overnutrition now co-exist in the same communities.

 

How can you get help?

The first step to helping yourself is to accept that you have a problem. It’s time to get rid of that toxic environment and stop living in denial. Baby steps are the way to go to gain control of your life again. Calculate your BMI. Self-assessment can serve as an important tool for self-healing.

If you feel lost and have no clue where to start, feel free to ask questions and receive expert medical advice from online physicians at iMEDHealth. It’s okay to feel scared at times. All you need is a nudge in the right direction. Our panel of top online physicians can be your health partner on the road to a healthier and happier life!

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