When talking about various medical and health concerns, the first few thoughts in your mind might be examples like heart problems, diabetes, cancer, or other illnesses related to that. But are you aware that being overweight and obese are just as concerning?
Obesity has been a very complex medical disease. It is a combination of a lifestyle problem and a genetic concern. Furthermore, the complexity of obesity can lead to numerous health complications, especially if left with no medical attention.
The most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) mentions the raising concern over the increasing number of overweight and obese individuals globally. One-third of adults are overweight, while around one in every ten adults is obese. Also, more than 40 million children below five years of age are overweight.
In this article, we will look at the possible impact on health associated with obesity!
What is Obesity?
Overweight and obesity are two health problems related to a person’s body mass index, or BMI. The WHO considers a BMI of at least 25 to be overweight and over 30 as obese. This health problem has alerted authorities due to the rapid growth in people being overweight or obese!
Along with the drastic increase in the population of the overweight and obese, serious complications have arisen as well. And take note that these complications should not be taken lightly! Obesity has been noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the leading cause of death both in the United States and on a global scale.
Obesity is actually a disease that can be prevented. But it is not very easy to evade because there are numerous causes of developing this problem! Some people are just not capable of avoiding the unhealthy accumulation of body weight. Why is this the case?
Risk Factors for Obesity
Are you familiar with the term risk factors? This refers to factors present in a person that makes them more likely to develop a health problem. The health problem in this case is obesity. Here are the risk factors for obesity, reasons why some people cannot wholly avoid obesity despite being a preventable disease!
1. Lack of physical activity
Lack of physical activity is associated with having a higher BMI. Our modern-day lifestyles are not really the healthiest. Have you noticed how much time you spent sitting down at school or work? Or how recreational activities you enjoy are primarily passive, like watching television or browsing the Internet? There are many health risks associated with lack of physical activities. Chief among them are heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
2. Unhealthy diet
You cannot aim for a healthy lifestyle if you neglect a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the most common and accessible food choices to us are mostly the unhealthy ones. It is faster and cheaper to grab some fast food on your way to work or school rather than cook your own healthy and well-balanced meal. Fast food, soft drinks and dessert snacks are known to be high in calories, sugar and fat. Overeating calories, sugar, fats, and fewer fruits and vegetables will definitely affect your BMI and overall health.
3. Lack of sleep
The NIH has included lack of sleep as a possible risk factor for obesity! When you lack sleep, your body uses up your stored nutrients and negatively affects your hormones. Because of this, you tend to feel more hunger pangs, hence over eating.
4. Stressful lifestyle
Do you consider yourself stressed? Unfortunately, both short-term and long-term stress affects your brain and can cause it to produce hormones that affect your appetite. Acute stress does make you lose your appetite. In contrast, you will notice that you eat more if you are stressed for a very long time! This will heavily impact your weight, causing obesity.
5. Family and genetics
Lastly, genetics also play a role in obesity! The CDC mentioned that numerous studies have shown that overweight and obesity tend to be passed onto family members. It is speculated that our genes contain a particular sequence that can make you more predisposed to gain weight very easily.
Consequences of Obesity
Obesity may simply sound like having too much weight on the body. Unfortunately, there are drastic effects of this excess weight on the overall health of the person. Obesity can boost the risk of developing debilitating illnesses. Take note of some of the consequences of obesity here:
One of the top concerns of obesity is the development of diabetes. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, their blood sugar is above the healthy levels. This leads to complications, such as ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening!
An obese person has notably more stored fat cells, especially on their waists. These fat cells produce substances that alert the body and cause inflammation. Despite being an immune response, inflammation induced by the fat cells can cause less insulin responsiveness, poorer metabolism, and higher blood sugar. This cascade eventually leads to diabetes.
A previous study has concluded that an obese woman’s risk of developing diabetes was 93 times more than that of women with healthy BMIs. Moreover, the article also stated that gaining weight during adulthood increases the chance of getting diabetes.
2. Cardiovascular disease
Your weight is also directly related to having heart problems. When you have an unhealthy BMI, your body compensates by increasing blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar! These substances are not very desirable, especially in high amounts, because these make you develop coronary heart problems, stroke, and even cardiovascular death.
It is good to know that you can reverse the risk of developing these cardiovascular diseases as you lose weight! An article has mentioned that when you lose around five to ten percent of your body weight, your blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and sugar levels will become healthier, diminishing the chances of developing heart problems.
The connection between cancer and obesity is not yet fully established. This is the case because cancer is a health problem that cannot be singled out. In other words, cancer is an accumulation of various health environments and practices which cannot be solely attributed to one causative factor.
However, an article has mentioned that several references are now available and points that obese individuals do have more chances of developing cancers, especially in adults.
4. Mental health and quality of life
According to a journal article, there is no correlation yet between mental health illnesses and obesity from a biological perspective. However, we cannot deny that obese individuals face social problems leading to mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. This, unfortunately, leads to a poorer quality of life. Sometimes, obese individuals have difficulty socializing or being confident, maybe because of the stigma or discrimination.
Overweight and Obesity: Prevention is Better Than Cure!
The WHO has constantly been mentioning that overweight and obesity are problems that can be prevented or reversed! It would be best to consider having health goals such as having a healthier calorie intake, having an active lifestyle, and even having the guidance of a medical professional or nutritionist.
Healthier food options can include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and avoiding too much fat and sugary foods or beverages. Plus, engaging in moderate-intensity physical exercise for at least 30 minutes can help make you more energetic and active!
Obesity or weight concerns are not something that you should ignore. As you have seen from this article, obesity can lead to various health consequences, which will really affect your quality of life. If left un-checked, these can even be life-threatening or debilitating!
However, do not worry because obesity and its complications are entirely preventable. It would be best to always live a healthy lifestyle! But as some are more at risk than others, make sure that you monitor your health along with a physician.
If you are waiting for a go-signal to begin your weight loss regimen, this is it!
Article by Jilyannn Santos