The word obesity in itself isn't a very pleasant sound. Being one of the most common problems in the world, it is become an epidemic in recent years. The best way to deal with it is to control it and to understand the symptoms and causes of obesity, one must know what exactly obesity is. Although there are multiple definitions of obesity, in general, obesity indicates weight that is greater than what is considered healthy. Even though a certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, and shock absorption, an excess amount of body fat leads to obesity.
Causes of Obesity
A person’s weight is determined by a balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure. The body stores the excess calories in the form of body fat. The hormone leptin is responsible for the mechanism of fat regulation. If a person is suffering from leptin deficiency, then he can suffer from obesity. Also, diseases such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome contribute severely to obesity. Furthermore, body weight is determined by several factors such as an individual’s genetics, diet, metabolism, environment, culture, and behavior.
Obesity and Associated Health Risks
Obesity is not merely a cosmetic consideration but is also very harmful to a person’s health. Life expectancy is significantly reduced for people with BMI over 40. Obesity leads to insulin resistance which is a pre-diabetes condition that often leads to Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes.Another major health risk of obesity is high blood pressure. Most obese people suffer from hypertension and increase in blood pressure is found more commonly in women than in men as a result of weight gain. Other health risks of obesity are cholesterol, stroke, heart attack and various forms of cancer such as breast and colon cancer.
How is Obesity Diagnosed?
Your doctor will give you a series of tests to confirm if you are obese. He will analyze your medical history taking into account your weight history, eating and exercise habits, your family’s health history, heart rate, and examination of heart, lungs, and abdomen.
Obesity is generally measured by calculating the body mass index (BMI). Body mass index takes into consideration a person’s height and weight as the two determining factors to calculate an individual’s appropriate weight. Body mass index is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in meters (m) squared. BMI shows high correlation with body fat content in adults since it exhibits a ratio between weight and height.
A full-grown adult with a BMI ranging from 25-29.9 is considered overweight while an adult with BMI over 30 is considered obese. An individual with BMI ranging from 18.5-24.9 is of normal weight. Waist circumference is measured to know the amount of abdominal or visceral fat stored around your waist. Women with over 35 inches waist circumference and men with over 40 inches waist circumference are prone to high risks of contracting diabetes and heart ailments.
It is a good practice to measure your BMI and Waist circumference once in a year. If they are more than the normal, it is best to consider a physician to get diagnosed with obesity and plan the best treatment option.
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