An Overview of Obesity

An Overview of Obesity

Obesity occurs when your body carries too much fat. It involves excess weight that is greater than healthy for a certain height, reflected in a calculation known as the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (Kg) by height (meters squared).

A healthy BMI range is between 18.5 to 24.9. Between 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. BMI levels above 30 diagnose obesity, of which there are three classes of severity. Class 1 obesity is from 30 to 34.9, Class 2 “Morbid” obesity is from 35 to 39.9, and Class 3 “Extreme” obesity refers to BMI > 40. In the United States, more than two thirds (69-70%!) of white adults, 50% of black adults, and 40% of Hispanic adults are considered to be overweight or obese, with fully over 1 in 3 Americans (36%) being obese.

Many things contribute to obesity. Two primary causes of obesity are physical inactivty, and bad eating habits. A sedentary, lazy lifestyle burns less calories, which easily leads to consuming more calories from food than you burn. Unhealthy food and drink habits directly lead to high caloric intake. Other contributing factors include genetics, Family lifestyle, certain medication side effects, poor socioeconomic resources, and poor sleep.

Fat and excess weight in obesity harm your body in many ways, and can lead to chronic medical conditions. Diseases related to obesity include Diabetes, Heart disease, High blood pressure, Stroke, Arthritis, Cancer of the Breast, Colon, Uterus, or Kidney; Non-alcoholic Fatty-liver disease (NAFLD), Cirrhosis, and Liver Failure.

Treatment of Obesity consists of a comprehensive approach, including behavior modification, exercise, health psychology, and in some cases, surgical bypass or removal of part of your stomach.

Set realistic goals for your weight loss- try to lose 5-10% of your body weight over a six month period. Losing 1-2 lbs weekly is safe, easily achievable, and is less likely to be unintentionally regained. Involving a health psychologist is an excellent addition in your plan to lose weight, providing additional insight, new ways of thinking about yourself, and providing a smarter, wiser framework for developing healthy habits.

Additionally, focus on balancing the amount of calories you take in, with those you burn. Reducing the amount of calories you take in is an essential part of weight loss. This can be accomplished by incorporating more fat-free and low-fat dairy options into your diet, and increasing healthy sources of protein. Eliminating salt from your diet will help you lose weight, and also lower your blood pressure. Fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than canned or frozen, will provide the best supply of nutrients, no artificial preservatives, and best sources of energy. Whole grain foods, rather than white breads and processed or packaged ones, are an excellent change to incorporate as well.

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