This is a disease that is characterized by an excessive amount of body fat. It can be thus defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that poses health risks to the patient. Obesity thus increases your risk of contracting other diseases and health problems for instance heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
FACTS ABOUT OBESITY
It is treatable even without the doctor’s intervention
The patient can diagnose himself or herself
Lab tests and imaging are not mandatory during diagnosis
It is chronic for it can last for years or even the patient’s whole life
A person with a BMI-body mass index of 30 or more is considered to be obese
The BMI is arrived at by dividing the patient’s weight in kilograms over his or her height in square meters.
A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered to be overweight, not obese
For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat but for some, especially athletes it does not. This is because muscular athletes can have a BMI within the obese range even if they lack excess fat.
CAUSES OF OBESITY
Obesity results from a combination of inherited factors, environmental factors, personal diet and exercises. This therefore makes it extremely difficult for some people to avoid obesity. The good news is that it does not have to be this way since there are weight loss procedures that can prevent and avert effects of obesity. These include changes in the patient’s diet, increased physical exercises, weight loss procedures such as slim-possible in Kenya and prescription medications.
Genetic factors- these are usually inherited from your parents
Behavioral factors- these encompass eating habits, physical exercises and choices of food.
Metabolic factors-they have got something to do with how efficiently the individual’s body converts food into energy or regulates his/her appetite.
Hormonal influences- as one ages, there is a change in hormonal levels which consequently lowers metabolism thus leading to obesity.
The patient’s family history and genetics– a person whose parents are obese is at a higher risk of having obesity than one whose parents are of normal weight. This is because genetics affect the amount of body fat that you can store, how efficiently your body converts food into energy, how your body regulates your appetite or burns calories during exercise as well as fat distribution. Obesity tends to run in families not only because of the shared genes but also similar eating habits and activities.
Lifestyle– this risk factor can be further divided into three that is: unhealthy diet, liquid calories and lack of exercise. An unhealthy diet is likely to cause obesity. It consists of food with many calories, lack of fruits and vegetables, fast foods laden with high calorie drinks. Liquid calories more so alcohol and sugared soft drinks can also contribute to significant weight gain. Finally, inactivity or lack of physical exercises is likely to increase the number of calories absorbed than the number of calories. Consequently, passive leisure such as watching the television leads to obesity.
Age – even though obesity can manifest itself at any age, older people are likely to experience it more due to hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle. To add on, old age is associated with a lower muscle mass which eventually leads to a decrease in metabolism.
Medical complications and medication– in some cases, obesity may be traced back to illnesses such as the Prader-Willi syndrome, arthritis, Cushing syndrome etc.
OTHER RISK FACTORS INCLUDE:
Pregnancy since during this time weight gain is common and some women may fail to lose this weight even after the child’s birth.
Quitting smoking is also associated with weight gain enough to qualify as obesity because smokers use food to cope with smoking withdrawal.
Lack of sleep can prompt changes in hormones that increase your appetite. An increased appetite leads to over-eating which will finally cause obesity.
Stress since people often go for high calorie foods such as alcohol when experiencing a difficult phase in their lives.