Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, cancers….
Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications or weight-loss surgery also may be options for treating obesity.
Obesity is likely 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.
Obese (Class I)
Obese (Class II)
40.0 and higher
Extreme obesity (Class III)
BMI estimate the body fat. However, BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category even though they don’t have excess body fat.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
- If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories.
- Unhealthy diet and eating habits. Having a diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, missing breakfast, and laden with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.
- Pregnancy. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
- Lack of sleep. Too little sleep can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite.
- Certain medications. Some medications can lead to weight gain like antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, corticosteroids and beta blockers.
- Medical problems. such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism and other diseases and conditions.
Obesity occurs when you eat and drink more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these extra calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
- Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise.
- Family lifestyle. Family members tend to have similar eating, lifestyle and activity habits.
- With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you burn off through exercise and normal daily activities.
- Unhealthy diet and eating habits. A diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, missing breakfast, and laden with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions contributes to weight gain.
- Quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is often associated with weight gain
- Aging. As you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity. In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism.
- Social and economic issues. Certain social and economic issues may be linked to obesity. You’re more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives.
Even if you have one or more of these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to become obese. You can counteract most risk factors through diet, physical activity and exercise, and behavior changes.
Obesity Related Diseases
If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
- High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
- Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
- Gallbladder disease
- Gynecologic problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
- Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
- Skin conditions, including poor wound healing
Quality of life
You may not be able to do things you’d normally enjoy as easily as you’d like, such as participating in enjoyable activities. You may avoid public places. Obese people may even encounter discrimination.
Other weight-related issues that may affect your quality of life include:
- Sexual problems
- Shame and guilt
- Social isolation
- Lower work achievement