An obese person is someone who has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. If a person’s bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over you are considered obese.
Leading Causes of Obesity
- Consuming too many calories. People are eating much more than they used to. According to the Centers for Disease Control, of all countries, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. From 13% obesity in 1962, estimates have steadily increased, reaching 19.4% in 1997, 24.5% in 2004, 26.6% in 2007, and 33.8% (adults) and 17% (children) in 2008. In 2010, the CDC reported higher numbers once more, counting 35.7% of American adults as obese, and 17% of American children.
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle. The less you move around the fewer calories you burn. With the arrival of televisions, computers, video games, remote controls, washing machines, dish washers and other modern convenience devices, the majority of people are leading a much more sedentary lifestyle compared to their parents and grandparents. However, this is not only a question of calories. Physical activity has an effect on how your hormones work, and hormones have an effect on how your body deals with food. Several studies have shown that physical activity has a beneficial effect on your insulin levels – keeping them stable. Unstable insulin levels are closely associated with weight gain.
- Not sleeping enough. Lack of sleep or erratic slumber from working late-night shifts or travel may lead to diabetes and obesity, according to a Harvard study that is the first to tie abnormal sleep patterns to disease. In a trial of 21 men and women observed in a sleep laboratory, those allowed only 5.6 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period over three weeks had a slowdown in their metabolism and a reduction in insulin production. Those changes can lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar.
- Fructose effect on the brain may promote obesity. Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine compared the effects of fructose and glucose on the brain with MRI scans and found that high fructose diets may be behind the current obesity epidemic.
Medical Conditions Caused By Obesity
Obesity is a concern because of its implications for the health of an individual as it increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions including:
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)