Obesity is a growing health issue and is characterized by the accumulation of excess fat in the body. It is usually assessed with the help of body mass index (BMI), which is measured by comparing the height and weight of an individual. If the BMI of an individual is 30 or above, then he or she can be declared as obese. On the other hand, if it exceeds 40, it is termed as morbid obesity. Sometimes, the waist circumference can also give an idea about weight problems.
Factors That May Contribute to Obesity
It is a growing concern for a majority of people, especially in developed countries. There can be many factors from genetic to environmental that can lead to this problem.
- Genetic factors - It can be an important risk factor for a number of health related complications including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, heart stroke, diabetes, liver diseases, osteoarthritis, certain forms of cancer like cancer of the uterus, ovaries, colon, rectum, and prostate.
- Environmental factors - Though, the genetic factors responsible for contributing to this condition can't be controlled properly, the environmental factors, on the other hand, can be effectively controlled with a change in lifestyle and eating habits.
◆ It is often observed in individuals whose parents or other family members are obese. Genetics is a major risk factor as genes are responsible for determining the appetite and metabolism or the conversion of food into energy. Besides, they also determine the storage and distribution of fat. Other than genetics, lifestyle and eating habits also play a significant role, as often the members of the same family tend to develop the same kind of habits.
◆ Physical exercise and activities help us remain fit and sound, by burning down the excess calories. So, a lack of physical activity coupled with over-consumption of high calorie foods, can lead to excessive weight gain.
◆ Another important risk factor can be age. Though, obesity can occur in any age group, the risk of developing it, increases with growing age, as many hormonal changes take place within our body. This, along with a reduction in physical activity can lead to weight gain. Besides, calorie requirements reduce with advancing age and so, it is essential to reduce to calorie intake to prevent the accumulation of excess fat.
◆ Sometimes, certain medication like antidepressants, steroids, diabetes medications, anti-seizure medications, and beta blockers can be responsible for this condition.
◆ In addition to this, sleep deprivation is another important factor as it can increase appetite and cause hormonal changes.
◆ In women, sometimes the weight gain during pregnancy can lead to this condition as many women fail to lose weight even after delivery.
◆ Another association has been witnessed between quitting smoking and weight gain, which can also occasionally lead to obesity. Moreover, it has been observed that people who are obese, usually have obese friends and relatives, as they tend to have the same kind of habits like eating fast foods or fried foods.
Substituting high calorie and fast foods with fruits and fresh vegetables, can prove beneficial in preventing weight gain. This should be complemented by physical activities and exercise, which can help in losing excess weight.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.