There are many of methods used to classify an individual’s health in relation to their weight, but BMI (body mass index) is the most frequently used way.
BMI determines whether you have a healthy weight in relation to your height. The “BMI healthy weight calculator” can be used to measure your weight.
For majority of adults, a BMI of:
- Between 18.5-24.9 implies your weight is healthy
- Between 25.0-29.9 implies you are overweight
- Between 30.0-39.9 implies you are obese
- 40 and above implies you are extremely obese
Obesity is not diagnosed through BMI alone, since muscular individuals can at times have a BMI that is high with no extra fat. However, for majority of individuals, BMI is used as a measure for them to know whether they are obese, overweight, or healthy.
Waist circumference is a better calculation of extra fat, which can further be used to measure individuals who are moderately obese or overweight.
Normally, women whose waist circumference is 80 cm and above and men whose waist circumference is 94 and above have higher chances of developing health problems related to obesity.
You are termed obese if you weigh 20 percent more than the normal weight. Obesity makes you prone to the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
- Stroke and heart disease
- Gallstones and gallbladder disease
- Breathing problems like sleep apnea and asthma
Not all individuals with obesity will experience all of the above conditions. However, having any of these conditions can be severe.
The location of your extra fat also matters. It may be more risky if the fat is more concentrated on the stomach compared to when it is on the hips and buttocks.
Diseases Associated with Obesity
- Stroke and heart disease
It is however important to know that losing a little weight can minimize your risk of stroke or heart disorders.
- Type 2 Diabetes
The majority of individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. You can reduce your chances of getting this condition by eating a diet that is balanced, losing weight, exercising regularly, and sleeping adequately.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, you can control your blood sugar levels by being more active physically and losing weight. Getting more active also minimizes the need for medication for diabetes.
Cancers that are related to obesity include cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, kidney and esophagus. Certain studies also say there is a relation of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, and gallbladder with obesity.
- Gallbladder disease
Gallstones and gallbladder disease are frequent found in overweight individuals. However, rapid weight loss can lead to the development of gallstones. To avoid this, you should lose weight gradually.
This is a frequent joint disorder that mostly affects the hips, knees, or back. Carrying excess weight puts stress on these joints and the cartilage that usually protects them becomes worn out. Losing weight reduces the pressure on the hips, knees, and back and may ease osteoarthritis symptoms.
This is a condition that affects the joints. This occurs when there is a lot of uric acid in the blood. The excess uric acid may create crystals that are deposited in the joints. Individuals who are overweight are most affected by gout. The risk for gout increases the more you weigh.
Weight changes that are random may result in gout flare-ups. Consult with your doctor on how to best lose weight if you have a gout history.
- Sleep Apnea
This is a breathing disorder that is related to being overweight. Sleep apnea may make an individual snore heavily and stop breathing briefly while sleeping. This condition may cause sleepiness during the day and makes you prone to stroke and heart disease.
Mostly, this condition can be treated through weight loss.
What causes obesity?
Normally, obesity results from consuming a lot of calories through food and participating in very little physical activity.
When you take in high energy quantities, especially sugars and fats, and fail to burn the energy via physical activity and exercise, the majority of the excess energy will be stored as fat on your body.
Calories are the units used to measure food energy value. The average man who is physically active requires approximately 2500 calories in one day, while the average woman who is physically active requires approximately 2000 calories in one day to maintain a healthy weight.
- Poor diet
Obesity develops slowly as time goes by due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, including:
- Consuming large quantities of fast or processed foods that contain lots of sugar and fat
- Consuming a lot of alcohol- there are a lot of calories in alcohol and individuals who are heavy drinkers are mostly overweight
- A lot of eating out- the foods may have high sugar and fat levels
- Consuming large quantities that are more than you physically require- you may be tempted to eat a lot if your family members and friends also eat a lot
- Consuming a lot of sugary drinks- this includes fruit juice and soft drinks
- Comfort eating- in case you are depressed or have low self-esteem, you eat to comfort yourself. This may also occur during boredom.
Poor eating habits largely run in families.
- Lack of physical activity
This is another crucial factor linked to obesity. The majority of individuals’ jobs require sitting down for the better part of the day. Rather than cycling or walking, they rely on their cars. In order to relax, majority of people watch television, play computer games, or browse the internet instead of exercising.
When you are inactive the energy offered by the food you consume is not used and the excess energy is kept as fat by your body. According to research, an average adult should do a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobics, such as walking fast or cycling, each week. This can be divided in smaller periods of 30 minutes each day throughout the week.
You require more exercise than this if you are obese and want to lose weight. Start off slowly, then increase the time as you progress.
Certain individuals may say there is no use in trying to lose weight, since it runs in their family. Although certain rare genetic disorders like Prader-Willi syndrome can lead to obesity, this does not mean it is impossible lose weight. Although you may inherit some genetic traits from your parents, such as a big appetite, that may make weight loss more difficult, this does not mean you should not try.
Mostly, obesity is contributed by environmental factors like bad eating habits which you learned as a child.
How to treat obesity
Regular exercise and eating a diet which is healthy and low in calories is the best method of treating obesity. Do the following to achieve this:
- Enroll in a local weight loss group
- Consume a balanced diet with controlled calories as advised by your doctor or nutritionist
- Eat your food slowly and avoid situations that could tempt you to eat too much
- Begin doing activities like jogging, walking, tennis, or swimming for about two-and-a-half hours every week
A skilled healthcare professional may also offer psychological support to assist you in changing how you think about eating, food, and exercise.
A medication known as Orlistat may be recommended if change of lifestyle alone is not effective in losing weight. This medication minimizes the quantity of fat you absorb during digestion. Consult with your doctor before using Orlistat.
Your doctor may recommend weight loss surgery, although this is rare.
There is no a fast way of treating obesity. Programs for weight loss take time, require commitment, and are most effective when completed fully.
Checking your weight regularly, having realistic goals, and including your relatives and friends in your weight loss journey may also help.
Losing even a little weight, such as three percent of your body weight, and maintaining it may minimize your chances of getting obesity-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, losing weight should definitely be a priority for those who are overweight and obese.