The Definition Of Obesity & Its Causes

The simplest definition of obesity is when a person has an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity affects an alarmingly large portion of the world’s population, and with video games, TV, the internet, and quick fix frozen dinners or fast food, the problem is growing! To make matter worse, obesity is not only a cosmetic issue. It’s a major health issue as well, leading to many health risks such as heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Obesity Epidemic - Definition and Causes

Doctors use a formula called the “body mass index” or BMI to calculate levels of body fat. Adults with BMI’s over 30 are considered obese. Extreme obesity, which is sometimes referred to as severe or morbid obesity, is when BMI levels are 40 or higher. With morbid obesity, people are more likely to have serious health issues.

In the USA, one in three people are considered obese. To try to avoid the hazards of excessive weight, people often turn to a weight loss program.

Some of the many symptoms of obesity are pain in the joints and back, excessive sweating, always feeling hot, rashes or infections in the folds of the skin, difficulty sleeping, snoring, sleep apnea, feeling out of breath with minor activity, daytime sleepiness or fatigue and depression. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, seek medical attention. Your doctor can counsel you on how to reduce your risks related to obesity. Through dietary changes and increased activity, you will be able to reduce the symptoms and health risks. In some cases, medication is prescribed, and in extreme cases, weight loss surgery may even be an option.

The causes of obesity are directly related to the over consumption of calories compared to the amount of calories burned with physical activity. There are also genetic and hormonal influences with some people who are obese. The most common cause for obesity is an inactive lifestyle. The inability to burn excess fat consumed, leads to the body storing this fat instead of getting rid of it. Watching television is one of the leading causes of obesity.

Unhealthy diet and eating habits, high in calories from fast foods, skipping breakfast, eating most of the daily calories in the evening or for a late night snack, consuming high calorie drinks, and eating overly large portions, are all contributing factors to obesity. Learning to change your eating habits will help combat obesity.

In the case of a pregnant woman, she can gain weight, yet after giving birth, she may find it difficult to lose the excess pounds. If the extra weight is not lost soon after the pregnancy, this can lead to obesity.

Getting less than seven hours of sleep at night causes the hormones to change by increasing the appetite, and leading a person to crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates. This results in weight gain.

Some medications also lead to weight gain when the weight is not compensated with a healthy diet and physical activity. The types of medications leading to weight gain include antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medication, steroids, beta-blockers, and antipsychotic medication.

Medical conditions can also cause obesity, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome to name a few. And due to the consequent inactivity, Arthritis often leads to obesity as well.

We hope this has helped shed some light on this growing condition of our modern world. If you have any questions, or opinions on the obesity issue, please feel free to comment below.

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