Health and Wellness

What is Obesity?

Overweight and obesity show a weight greater than what is healthy. Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess amount of body fat. A certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions.

Understanding Obesity

A person’s height and weight determine his or her body mass index. The body mass index (BMI) equals a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m) squared. Since BMI describes body weight relative to height, there is a strong correlation with total body fat content in adults.

Obesity Chart

  • An adult who has a BMI of 25-29.9 is overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of over 30 is obese.
  • A person with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 has a normal weight.
  • A person is morbidly obese (extreme obesity) if his or her BMI is over 40.

Types of Obesity

Upper Body Obesity: This type of obesity results from simply eating too much and not exercising enough. So the simple solution to this case would be to cut down on your sugar intake and exercise 30 minutes a day.

Excess Stomach Fat: For both men and women, excess stomach fat can be very frustrating, especially if you’re on the more active side. The major cause for excess stomach fat is stress, depression, and anxiety. Increasing the amount of exercise you do per day is a brilliant solution, but also practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation & Yoga will also help you shed some of that weight.

Lower Body Fat: This type of obesity is most common in women and can be very tough to get rid of. But if you put together a proper workout regimen, you’ll see results. Try toning your leg muscles first through a series of leg workouts like lunges and squats. Then you can incorporate some aerobic exercises such as jogging and running, which will help you lose that fat. Together, your workouts and aerobic exercises will give you a nice-toned lower body.

Swollen Stomach: If you love to party and hate to exercise, this could be the reason you have what is called a “beer belly.” On a hot summer day, nothing tastes better than a nice cold beer, but if you’re not exercising daily, the best solution to fight this obesity is to significantly cut down on your alcohol consumption.

Lower Leg Obesity: Nobody strides to be obese, but there are certain types that are harder to get rid of than others. Lower leg obesity is most commonly found in pregnant women, and water aerobics is the best solution to lose weight in the lower legs.

Upper Back Fat: Again, the result of upper back fat is consuming more calories than you’re burning off. The simple solution is to ramp up your training program and restructure your diet. This means cutting down on the sugary fats and consume them in smaller proportions. The last thing you want is a weak back when you get older because then you’re going to have some genuine issues. This may sound cheesy, but your back is the “backbone” of your entire body.

What causes obesity?

Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) causes obesity. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.

Common causes of obesity include:

  • eating a poor diet of foods high in fats and calories
  • having a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle
  • not sleeping enough, which can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods
  • genetics, which can affect how your body processes food into energy and how fat is stored
  • growing older, which can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
  • pregnancy (weight gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity)

Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. These include:

  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a condition that causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones
  • Prader-Willi syndrome: a rare condition that an individual is born with which causes excessive hunger
  • Cushing syndrome: a condition caused by having an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in your system
  • hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid): a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones
  • osteoarthritis(and other conditions that cause pain that may lead to inactivity)

Obesity diagnosis and tests

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more. Body mass index is a rough calculation of a person’s weight in relation to their height.

Other more accurate measures of body fat and body fat distribution include skinfold thickness, waist-to-hip comparisons, and screening tests such as

A measurement of the fat around your waist is also a good predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases.

What are the complications of obesity?

Obesity leads to much more than simple weight gain. Having a high ratio of body fat to muscle puts the strain on your bones and your internal organs. It also increases inflammation in the body, which is thought to be a cause of cancer. Obesity is also a major cause of type 2 diabetes.

Learn about Chronic Asthma

Obesity has been linked to several of the health complications, some of which are life-threatening:

Learn about why preventive health check up is important

Originally published in NHS

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