Obesity is a multi-factorial and complex medical condition. If an individual's bodyweight is more than 20% of the expected weight then the individual is obese. If the Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 one is considered overweight and if above 30 then one is considered to be obese.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is basically caused by eating too much and doing less physical activity. If a person consumes more calories in the diet, particularly from fat and sugars, but does not burn it off through exercise and physical activity the surplus energy is stored in the body as fat.
- Genes: Obesity has a strong genetic factor. Children of obese parents are more likely to be obese. However genes do not always predict future health. Genes and behaviour may both be needed for a person to be overweight.
- Inactivity: People who are inactive or lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to put on weight because they don't burn the calories that they take in from their diet. A sedentary lifestyle also raises risk for other diseases.
- Emotions: Some people overeat because of depression, hopelessness, irritation, boredom, and reasons that have nothing to do with appetite.
- Lack of sleep: Lack of sleep can result in changes in hormones that increase appetite.
- Environmental factors : The lifestyle of other individuals around the person does play a role. It affects the eating and exercise habits of an individual.
- Pregnancy: Weight increase is very normal during pregnancy. However, some women find it difficult to lose the gained weight following delivery.
- Medical problems: Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, etc. Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in an increase of weight. A low metabolism as in hypothyroidism is likely to cause obesity.
Overweight and Obesity-Related Health Problems: The following medical conditions are seen more in overweight individuals:
- High blood pressure
- Gall bladder disease and gallstones
- Breathing problem
Hence, one should ensure that one should remain around the ideal weight for his or her age and height.