Although obesity is a well-known condition, there is still much that is unknown about it. In this blog post, we will explore what obesity is and why it has become such a problem in the United States.
We will also discuss ways to treat obesity and prevent it from developing in the first place. Stay tuned for more information on this important public health issue.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is when a person has an unhealthy amount and distribution of body fat. The term “obesity” usually refers to increased body weight that comes from muscle, bone, fat, and/or water.
Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure determines a person’s weight. If you eat and drink more than your body burns, you gain weight.
Obesity also has different risk factors:
- Age: Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. However, the chances of becoming obese increase as you age. This is likely due to decreasing levels of physical activity and increasing caloric intake over time.
- Gender: Men are more likely to be affected by obesity than women are until about 60 years old when the prevalence for both sexes becomes similar. After that, women are more likely to be obese than men.
- Heredity: Obesity tends to run in families. The genes you inherit may make you more likely to gain weight if you don’t eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise.
- Ethnicity: Some ethnicities have a higher risk of obesity than others. For example, African Americans have the highest rates of obesity, while Asian Americans have the lowest rates.
- Lifestyle: Your lifestyle choices can affect your chances of becoming obese. For example, the more television you watch, the less physically active you are and the more likely you are to gain weight.
- Underlying Condition: Some people are obese because they have an underlying health condition, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Medications: Some medications can have obesity as a side effect. These include antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, diabetes medications, certain hormones (such as cortisol or estrogen), and some antipsychotic drugs.
Why Is Obesity Dangerous?
Obesity is a major risk factor for many diseases and conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
People who are obese are also more likely to die prematurely than those who are not obese. Further, obesity can affect nearly every organ in your body, including your heart, lungs, brain, and liver.
There’s also a strong association between obesity and poor mental health. Obesity can cause you to feel more self-conscious, insecure, and depressed.
How Is Obesity Diagnosed?
The most common way to determine if you are obese is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. You can use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) BMI calculator to find out your BMI.
BMI is not a perfect measure, but it’s the best available tool for assessing population risk and tracking trends over time. Your BMI can help determine if you are at an increased medical risk due to your weight. It also helps tell health care providers how much of your body weight is fat.
An urgent care clinic can also perform tests to help evaluate your physical health. These include:
- Blood pressure test: Your blood pressure is one of the most critical indicators of your heart health. High blood pressure increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
- Cholesterol test: This test measures the different types of cholesterol in your blood. It can help determine if you have high cholesterol or another condition called metabolic syndrome.
- Blood glucose test: This is a measurement of your blood sugar level. It can indicate whether you have diabetes or are at risk for developing it due to obesity.
What Are the Best Ways to Manage or Prevent Obesity?
If you are obese, the best way to manage your weight is through a combination of diet, exercise, and behavior modification.
A healthy diet for people who are obese includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein. It’s important to limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.
Exercise is also another vital part of a weight loss program because it helps you control your calorie intake by burning calories. Anyone who’s obese can benefit from regular exercise at moderate intensity (such as brisk walking).
Lastly, behavior modification involves changing behaviors or habits that contribute to obesity. These can include eating large portions, sitting for long periods (such as watching television), and overeating because you are stressed or anxious.
Some medications can help people with obesity lose weight by reducing appetite, increasing metabolism, and blocking the absorption of fat in your intestines.
If you have a serious medical condition related to obesity, your doctor may recommend weight-loss surgery. This is a major decision and should only be considered after trying other methods to lose weight.
Obesity is a serious condition that increases your risk for many health problems. It can affect nearly every organ in your body and cause you to die prematurely. The best way to manage obesity is through diet, exercise, and behavior modification.