Not Just a Cosmetic Consideration
Obesity specifically refers to an excessive amount of body fat that your health is in danger which can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke.
Most health care professionals agree that men with more than 25% body fat and women with more than 30% are overweight or obese.
Health care providers are not only concerned with how much body fat a person has, but also where the fat is located. Women typically collect fat in their hips and buttocks while men typically collect fat around the bellies.
Excess abdominal fat is an important, independent risk factor for disease. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have more health risks than people with lower waist measurements.
Measuring the exact amount of a person's body fat is not easy and there are several methods to determine obesity, such as:
- Underwater weighing (hydrostatic weighing): weighs a person underwater and then calculates lean body mass (muscle) and body fat.
- BOD POD: Computerized air chamber measuring weight and displace air.
- DEXA: Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry used to measure bone density.
- Skin calipers: Measure the skin fold thickness of the layer of fat just below the skins surface.
- Bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA): Sending a harmless amount of electricity through the body.
- Weight-for-height table: Table with an acceptable range of weights for a person's height.
- Body mass index: Uses a mathematical formula (or chart) accounting for both the person's height and weight. This is now the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers.
- Body mass index:
Uses a mathematical formula (or chart) accounting for both the person's height and weight. This is now the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers.
Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories from food than he or she burns or use. This imbalance between calories-in and calories-out may differ from one person to another with these factors playing a role:
- Genetics: Overweight does tend to run in families suggesting a genetic cause or maybe a family lifestyle and shared diet.
- Environmental and Social factors: environment includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats, and level of physical activity.
- Some illnesses: Hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome are all illnesses which can cause weight gains.
- Sleep: Too much or too little sleep has shown to have an effect on weight gain.
- Some drugs: Certain drugs such as steroids, some antidepressants, and some psychiatric drugs may cause weight gain.
- Overeating: especially if the diet is high in fat or sugar such as with fast food, fried food, and sweets.
- Slow metabolism: As we age we tend to lose muscle and our metabolism slows, therefore, we tend to gain weight.
- Physical inactivity: sedentary people burn less calories the active people
Being overweigth is just not a cosmetic consideration; it is a dire health dilemma directly harmful to one's health increasing the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases including:
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
- Fatty liver disease
The method of treatment depends on your level of obesity, overall health condition, and readiness to lose weight.
Treatment may include a combination of diet, exercise, behavior modification, and sometimes weight-loss drugs or surgery.
Weight control is a life-long effort, and having realistic expectations about weight loss is an important consideration.
Obesity experts recommend you try to lose weight and improve your health if you have a BMI of 30 or greater. Remember to always consult your health care professional before starting any extreme dieting or exercise program.
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