What is obesity? what are the health risks of obesity?

October 29, 2016

Obesity is one of the major growing global concerns. It is a chronic disease that requires medical treatment and also prevention. Obesity is a condition that is associated with having an excess of body fat, defined by genetic and environmental factors.

How is obesity measured?

Obesity is measured by various means, but the most common methods used are Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by his or her height in meters squared. An adult with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. To find your waist circumference, wrap a tape measure around the area above your hip bone and below your rib cage. For females, a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. For men, a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. Another measure of excess adipose tissue, such as waist-to-hip ratio is also used.

Some of the Common Health Risks of Obesity:

  1. High Blood Pressure – The chances of getting high blood pressure is greater especially if you are obese or overweight. It is basically a force of blood pushing against the arteries walls as the pumping of the heart going on.
  2. Heart Disease and Stroke-Extra weight make you more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both of those conditions make heart disease or stroke more likely.
  3. Type 2 Diabetes – Most of the people who have Type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. Traditionally, the body does the work of breaking down the food into glucose. Then it is carried to the cells all through the body. A hormone called insulin is used by the cells to convert glucose into energy. However, it is not the same in Type 2 Diabetes as the cells in the body do not make use of insulin properly, hence the blood glucose levels go up.
  4. Cancer – Another health risk of obesity is cancer. Cancers of the colon, breast (after menopause), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus are linked to obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.
  5. Osteoarthritis – This is one of the major and common joint condition that affects hip, back or knees. When you are overweight or obese you tend to put extra pressure on the joints which further leads to the wearing and tearing of the cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints.
  6. Gallbladder Disease-Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight.
  7. Breathing problems: Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that’s linked to being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to snore heavily and to briefly stop breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease and stroke more likely.
  8. Gout – This is another disease that affects the joints which happens when your body has too much uric acid in the blood. The extra uric acid your body has further formed into crystals that settle in the joints. The more you weigh, the more likely you are to get out.

In order to reduce the risks, it is wise to have Behavior Modifications like changing eating habits, increasing physical activity, becoming educated about how to nourish the body appropriately.