WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is a condition resulting from excessive storage of fat In the body. Obesity has been defined as a weight more than 20% above what is considered normal according to standard age, height, and weight tables or by a complex formula known as the "Body Mass Index "(BMI).
WHAT IS BODY MASS INDEX? Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement based on the height and weight of a person. The higher the BMI, the more obese you are. BMI values apply to both men and women regardless of their frame size or muscle mass except: Pregnant women or lactating mothers Individuals below 16 Frail or sedentary elderly people Competitive athletes Professional bodybuilders
How To Calculate BMI
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines BMI as:
BMI = weight(kg) Height (m) x (m)
pound = kg inch x 2.54 = m 2.2 100
The healthy weight range for BMI is 18.5 - 22.9
BMI You Are: < 18.5 Underweight 18.5 -22.9 Normal, healthy weight =23 Overweight 25 - 29.9 Obese =30 Severely Obese
CAUSES OF OBESITY
Weight is largely determined by how you balance your intake of calories from food with the energy you use in everyday activities. If you consume more calories than you use, you gain weight. Your body stores calories that you don't need for energy as fat. Overeating and lack of physical activity are the main causes of obesity, especially in combination. But many factors contribute to obesity. They are:
Eating Habit: Regular consumption of high-calorie foods such as fast foods contributes to weight gain. High-fat foods are dense in calories. Loading up on soft drinks, candy and desserts also promote weight gain. Foods and beverages like these are high in sugar and calories.
Lifestyle: Sedentary people are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn calories through physical activities.
Psychological Factors: Some people overeat to cope with problems or deal with difficult emotions. In some cases, obesity can come from an eating disorder. It has been shown.
For example, binging for some people releases natural opiates in the brain, providing a sense of well-being and physical pleasure.
Genetics: If one or both of your parents are obese, your chances of being overweight increase by 25 percent to 30 percent. Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store and where that fat is distributed. But your genetic makeup doesn't guarantee that you will be obese.
Sex: Men have more muscle than women and because muscle burns a greater number of calories than fat burns, men expend up to 20 percent more calories than women do even at rest. So, for women to achieve a healthy weight may be a tougher challenge.
Age: As you get older, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease, and fat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. Your metabolism also slows naturally with age. People also tend to be less active as they age. Together these changes reduce calorie needs. If you don't decrease your calories intake as you age, you will likely gain weight.
Cigarette Smoking: Smokers tend to gain weight after quitting. A 6 to 8-pound weight gain is not uncommon. This weight gain may be partially due to nicotine's ability to raise the rate at which your body burns calories (metabolic rate). When smokers stop, they burn fewer calories. Smoking also affects taste. Former smokers often gain weight because they eat more after they quit. Their food tastes and smells better.
Pregnancy: After each pregnancy, a woman's weight increases an average of 4 to 6 pounds over her pre-pregnancy weight. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
Medical Problems: Les than 2 percent of all cases of obesity can be traced to a medical cause such as low thyroid functions, excess production of hormones by the adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome), or other hormonal imbalances. A low metabolic rate is rarely a cause of obesity. A medical problem can also lead to the decreased activity which can result in weight gain.
Medications: Corticosteroids and tricyclic antidepressants, in particular, can lead to weight gain.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS