What is Obesity?
Obesity is a disease defined by an overabundance of fat. It is measured by one’s body weight in relation to their height in a scale called the body mass index or BMI. A BMI greater than 25 indicates that you are overweight. If your BMI is greater than 35, you may be eligible for weight loss surgery.
Rates of obesity have increased dramatically in recent years. In the United States, two-thirds of the adult population is overweight with approximately one-third considered morbidly obese.
Causes of Obesity
Body weight measures the combined mass of muscle, bone, fat and water in our bodies. When someone is overweight or obese, the excess weight is typically associated with too much fat.
Obesity is a result of consuming more calories than you expend. Every food has calories—some more than others. As you eat, your body metabolizes the food and turns those calories into energy that it uses to function. Unused calories are turned into fat for storage. Over time, the accumulation of fat leads to weight gain.
Factors that contribute to weight gain include:
- Eating a diet rich in high-fat and high-sugar foods
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history of obesity
- Habit of overeating
Health Risks of Obesity
Obesity can influence your physical and mental health, increasing your risk for developing chronic health disorders. The longer you struggle with obesity, the greater your risk of developing obesity-related diseases becomes.
Losing just five to 10 percent of your excess weight can reduce your risk of developing obesity-related health conditions. In some situations, losing weight can actually reverse the onset of disease and improve your health.
Obesity increases your risk of developing:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Metabolic syndrome
- Gallbladder disease
- Severe anxiety
- Skin conditions, including acne and rash
In addition to the above conditions, being overweight or obese may increase your risk for certain cancers, including breast, colon, prostate and rectal cancer.
Obesity is treated through weight loss, but this is a challenging process. Obesity is a chronic disease that is difficult to overcome without medical intervention. Weight loss surgery is the most effective treatment option for obesity. Weight loss surgery makes it easier for you to adhere to the diet, exercise and behavioral changes necessary to achieve long-term weight loss.