Obesity: Definition, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & More
Obesity: Definition, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & More

Obesity: Definition, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & More

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  • Published: November 18, 2021
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Causes of Obesity

It is generally caused by overeating (excessive intake of calories) and doing less or no exercise. It is also caused by;
Poor diet –eating fast foods and large amounts of processed or that is high in fat sugar. Obesity condition does not happen abruptly or overnight. It is something that develops gradually over time; this is as a result of unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices, such as eating junk food or fast foods or processed food that has high sugar and fat content, eating foods that lacks in the Western diet like vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruits —that helps in weight control, and drinking too many sugary drinks such as fruit juice and soft drinks (Friel & Lichacz, 2010). It is also imperative to note that gain of weight is inevitable if one regularly takes more calories than that they burn.

Lack of physical activity

This entails just being around without doing any exercise; not involving oneself in any constructive activities such as walking or cycling (Wang et al., 2008). If an individual is not very active, they do not burn as many calories as they sh

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ould. Having such a sedentary lifestyle, one can easily take in additional calories every day than they participate in normal daily activities and doing exercise. Many Americans are not much physically active since many people spend most of their time in front computers doing work, leisure activities and schoolwork, some watching TVs. In fact, spending more than 2 hours a day of viewing TV regularly has been associated with overweight and obesity complications. Additionally, other reasons that make people not to be active include; relying too much on cars instead of walking, fewer physical demands at home or at work contributed by modern technology and conveniences as well as the lack of physical education lessons in schools. If a person is not active enough, they do not utilize the energy that is provided by the food they consume and the extra energy they take in is stored in the body as fat.

Genes and family history –This is where certain genetic traits are inherited from the parents (Bouchard & Pérusse, 2003). Overweight and obesity conditions tend to run in particular families but in a lesser degree. The probability of an individual becoming overweight is high if one or both parents are overweight or obese. One’s genes also may affect the amount of fat that is stored in their body and where the body can carry the extra fat. Since families share food as well as physical activity habits, there is a link that exists between genes and the environment of an individual. Also, it may be true that certain genetic characteristics are inherited from the parents, for instance having a large appetite for food, thereby making it difficult to lose weight. Children tend to adopt the habits of their parents; a kid who has overweight parents that are inactive and eat high-calorie rich foods is likely t

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become overweight too. But if the family adopts the habit of eating healthy foods and starts engaging in physical activities, the chances of the kid of being overweight or obese is somewhat reduced.

Medical reasons

The underlying medical conditions that may cause an individual gain weight. Some hormone problems in the body, such as underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and Cushing’s syndrome may contribute to overweight and obesity. Underactive thyroid is a condition where thyroid gland makes insufficient thyroid hormone; lack of thyroid hormone will slow down metabolism in the body thereby causing weight gain. An individual is also likely to feel weak and tired. And Cushing’s syndrome is a condition where the body’s adrenal glands excess of the cortisol hormone. The condition can also develop if someone takes high doses of certain medicines like prednisone, antidepressants, corticosteroids, and seizure medicines for a long period of time. These medicines may cause one to gain weight by increasing one’s appetite, slowing the rate at which the body burns calories or cause the body to hold on to extra water.

Symptoms and Complications

Health risk factors that are associated with obesity include; breathing disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, cardiovascular disease like stroke and heart attack, diabetes, certain types of cancers like bowel and prostate cancer in men, uterine and breast cancer in women, gallbladder or liver disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and congenital heart disease (Ogden et al., 2006). Other Symptoms and complications that can be experienced by individuals who are obese may include; a higher than normal body mass index (BMI), increased sweating, difficulty in doing physical activities, feeling very tired most of the time, snoring, joint and back pain.

People who are overweight or obese may exhibit the symptoms and complications of medical conditions stated above. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), breathing difficulties, and joint pain (especially in the knees or lower back) are always common. The chances of getting exposed to these medical problems related to obesity are likely to be worse when a person is being more obese. Apart from medical complications, obesity is also associated with psychosocial problems such as low confidence and self-esteem, feeling isolated in society, difficulty in getting an employment, discrimination as well as reduced quality of life.

Diagnosis

Body mass index (BMI) is the most reliable way and widely used way to find out if an individual is overweight or obese. BMI measurement estimates and does not directly determine the amount of body’s fat, but it is an important tool for the assessment of the health risk linked to being overweight or obese. Calculations of an individual BMI is done from their weight and height in kilograms (kg) and meters (m) respectively, instead of pounds (lb) and inches/feet. Nevertheless, it is not always accurate but it is a useful measure for many people (Monteiro et al., 2004). For example, the normal BMI calculated may not be accurate if a person is very muscular, for the reason that muscle can add extra kilograms and that may mean one has a high BMI when they are not an unhealthy weight.

BMI does not have some limits, therefore,

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