Obesity is a complex disorder that involves an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't just a cosmetic concern; it increases your chances of diseases and health problems that can include heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Obesity can occur when an individual's body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Your body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) squared.
BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 - Underweight
18.5-24.9 - Normal
25.0-29.9 - Overweight
30.0-34.9 - Obese (Class I)
35.0-39.9 - Obese (Class II)
40.0-higher - Extreme obesity (Class III)
For most people, BMI is a rational estimate of body fat. Although, BMI doesn't instantly measure body fat, in some cases people, such as muscular athletes, might have a BMI in the obese category even though they don't contain excess body fat. Ask your health care provider if your BMI is a problem.
Although there are genetic and hormonal componets that play a role in body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn by exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores the excess calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
- Inactivity - If you aren’t very active, you don't burn as many calories as someone who is. With a sedentary lifestyle, you consume more calories every day than you use by exercise and normal daily activities.
- Unhealthy diet and eating habits - Having a diet that lacks in fruits and vegetables, that is full of fast food, missing breakfast, high-calorie beverages and oversized portions all play a factor in gaining weight.
- Pregnancy - While pregnant a woman's weight increases. Some women find this weight hard to lose once she had delivered the baby. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
- Lack of sleep - Not getting enough sleep may cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which contribute to weight gain.
- Certain medications - These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, corticosteroids and beta-blockers.
- Medical problems - Obesity can sometimes be noted to be a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, and other diseases and conditions that cause weight gain. Some medical problems, such as arthritis, can cause decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.
All weight-loss programs require changes in your eating habits and increased physical activity. Common treatment tools include:
- Dietary changes
- Exercise and activity
- Behavior change
- Prescription weight-loss medications
- Weight-loss surgery
- A reduced- calorie diet
- Feeling full on less
- Creating a healthy-eating plan
- Restricting certain foods
- Meal replacements
- Counseling - Therapies and interventions with trained nutritionist and mental health professional can help you address the emotional and behavioral issues correlated to eating.
- Support groups - Join support groups to find understanding and share similar challenges with people who are also battling obesity.
There are arrays of medications that can be prescribed by a doctor to help aid in weight loss. These medications are trail and error due to the fact that everyone’s body is different and reacts to medications in different ways. Talking to your health care provider is the best option to get more information on which medication would be best for you.
In certain cases, weight-loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is a way of losing weight. Weight-loss surgery offers the best chance of losing the most weight, but it can come with some serious risks. Weight-loss surgery limits the amount of food you're able to comfortably consume or even decreases the absorption of food and calories or both.