Obesity is defined as the excessive or abnormal fat accumulation in the body that presents health risks. It is a medical condition that increases the risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Calculate your BMI using this formula
It is estimated that 66% of adults in US are now overweight or obese with a BMI of 25 or greater.
It is estimated that 33% of children and adolescents in US, aged from 2 to 19 years are either overweight or obese
Types of Obesity
There are two types
- Android obesity
- Gynoid obesity
Android obesity is the type of obesity in which extra body fat is distributed over in the abdominal region. It is often referred to as apple shaped body type and is most common in men.
Gynoid obesity or pear shaped body type is when fat is deposited in the hips, buttock and thighs. It is most common amongst females.
Causes of obesity
- Physical inactivity
Genetics are one of the reasons for obesity. Genetics play a role in how effectively the body converts energy. How the body regulates appetite and burn calories.
Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by excessive appetite, massive obesity, short stature, and often mental retardation
Leptin is an obesity gene called ob that is expressed in the adipose tissue and codes for the protein Leptin.
Leptin acts as a hormone, in the hypothalamus. Leptin from adipose tissue signals sufficient energy stores and promotes a negative energy balance by suppressing appetite and increasing energy expenditure. So if your body has less amounts of leptin your body won’t be able to utilize energy.
Adipose tissue secretes a protein known as adiponectin. This correlates inversely with body fat. The more adiponectin the body has the less body fat. Lean people have higher amounts of adiponectin than obese people which explain the relationship between obesity and diseases. Adiponectin seems to have the beneficial effects of inhibiting inflammation. Adiponectin helps protect against insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Having less amounts of adiponectin in the body is also a downfall and would result in health issues.
Ghrelin is a protein produced by stomach cells that enhances appetite and decreases energy expenditure. Ghrelin fights to maintain a stable body weight and triggers the desire to eat. Blood levels of ghrelin rise before and fall after a meal in proportion to the calories ingested. Increasing ghrelin levels in blood reflect the hunger and satiety. Blood levels correlate inversely with body weight. Lean people have high ghrelin levels and obese people have low levels.
PYY is a peptide that the GI cells secrete after a meal in proportion to the calories ingested by the body. Ghrelin levels decline in response to high levels of PYY. PYY signals satiety and decreases food intake.
An ideal diet would maintain the satiating hormones (leptin, PYY, and cholecystokinin) and minimize the appetite stimulating hormone (ghrelin).
Overeating or eating unhealthy is one of the main reasons for obesity.
Eating high calories food as it is inexpensive, easily available and tasty. Oversized portion sizes are also a major reason why you eat more. More fast food places with new recipes that are advertised to make it irresistible for the consumer.
Almost everyone has a sedentary lifestyle which causes them to consume more calories than they burn through daily activities and exercise.
To prevent weight gain it is suggested that everyone should spend 60 minutes daily working out in addition to less intense daily activities. For example; instead of using the elevator take the stairs.
Stress contributes to obesity as the body release a hormone cortisol which increases appetite and causes the body to consume more calories. Stress can lead to poor eating habits.
It is associated with weight gain. The body uses food to cope with the withdrawal. In the longer run quitting smoking is better for your health so consult a doctor so you don’t gain weight after quitting.
Physiological and social problems
Previous attempts on losing weight which have resulted in gaining back that weight after some time
Losing weight will ensure happiness but dieting is a struggle
Getting rid of favorite foods is difficult
Feelings of rejection
Anxiety and depression
Obese people face discrimination at school and work
They are judged by their appearance
Management of obesity
Food to eat
The food that we put in our body is very important in determining our health status so be mindful about it.
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Lentils and legumes
- Low fat dairy products
- Increase water intake
Food to avoid
- Sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks)
- Processed Fruit juice (no more than a small amount per day)
- Refined grains (white bread, white rice, white pasta)
- Sweets and desserts
- Potatoes (fried)
- Processed meats (salami, ham, bacon, sausage)
- Fast food
- Limit high fat food
The best approach to weight management is through exercise. The more the energy used in exercise the more the body losses its fat. Workout at least 3 to 4 times a week for 60 minutes to stay lean.
It is very important to be patient and not expect drastic changes in days or weeks. Monitor your progress. Follow a healthy lifestyle that can be sustained in the longer run.