Morbid obesity is a life-threatening health condition, as it can lead to various health hazards besides causing difficulty in basic physical functions like walking or even breathing. Read on, to know the causes of obesity…
According to the available statistics, obesity has reached an epidemic level in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, the American Samoa islands in the Pacific Ocean had maximum number (around 93.5 % of the population) of overweight people in 2010. Obese people are more likely to suffer from various diseases and disorders, with type 2 diabetes, heart problems, osteoarthritis topping the list.
Body Mass Index
You may refer to the height-age-weight tables, and check whether your weight is within the normal range. The instant calculators available on various sites can help you calculate your body mass index (BMI). BMI is the parameter that is used to measure obesity. Take a look at the following chart.
|BMI < 17.5||Extremely underweight|
|BMI < 18.5||Underweight|
|BMI 18.5 to 25||Normal or optimal weight|
|BMI > 25||Overweight|
|BMI = 30 or BMI > 30||Obese|
|BMI = 40 or BMI > 40||Morbid obesity|
You can use the following formula to calculate your BMI:
BMI = mass (in pounds) × 703 / (height (in inches))2
Generally, people who are 50 – 100% above their ideal body weight are said to be morbidly obese.
Morbid Obesity Causes
Wrong Diet: Fast food and obesity go hand in hand. Regular consumption of high fat, processed foods, fast foods like fries with mayonnaise, cheese burgers, milkshakes, packaged foods at malls and deep-fried foods results in excessive weight gain. High consumption of saturated fat, simple carb, high cholesterol foods like red meat, sweets, desserts, chocolates, ice-creams, cakes, pastries, high fat dairy products, etc. results in excessive weight gain. Wrong diet, unbalanced diet, wrong eating habits lead to obesity. Excessive caloric intake can obviously result in morbid obesity.
Lack of Physical Activity: Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise are perhaps the main morbid obesity causes. Parents don’t have time to take children to gardens or playgrounds. Children spend most of their time in front of the ‘idiot box’ or ‘the computer’. These couch potatoes surf on the Internet, play video games or computer games and chat day and night, which eventually results in weight gain. Even adults have to spend most of the time in front of a computer, as computers has become an invariable part of every profession, business and organization. Use of machines in every field has reduced physical activity significantly.
Genetic Disposition: Genetic factors do play an important role in obesity. Those who have a family history of obesity are more likely to be overweight.
Diseases and Disorders: Certain diseases like hypothyroidism result in weight gain. Fat accumulation and fluid retention result in weight gain. Kidney disorders lead to fluid retention. Essential fatty acids deficiency can lead to hormonal imbalance and weight gain because fatty acids are required to produce hormones and maintain the metabolic rate. Eating disorders (emotional eating) resulting in food craving are responsible for weight gain. Cushing’s syndrome (excess of the hormone cortisol) can result in fat accumulation in the face, abdomen and upper back. Heart or liver diseases, diabetes are some of the common morbid obesity causes.
Medicines and Drugs: Certain medications and drugs can lead to weight gain. For example, medicines prescribed as a part of hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives that contain estrogen can increase your appetite and often can result in fluid retention. Steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants and diabetic medications also lead to weight gain.
Other Causes: Alcohol abuse, hormonal changes and slowing down of physical activity during menopause can also result in obesity. Some other environmental causes of obesity are lack of neighborhood jogging parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and safe places for recreation, lack of access to healthy foods, hectic lifestyle, excessive pricing of healthy foods, easy availability of cheap fast food, food advertising, etc.
Morbid obesity significantly increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer, depression, osteoarthritis, etc. It leads to breathing difficulty, difficulty in walking and very low energy levels. Knowing about the risk factors and causes of obesity helps you take proper precautions and prevent life-threatening disorders.