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What causes overweight and Obesity? How can we avoid it?

Jul 15, 2019

What is Obesity?

Obesity is considered a disease. It is a disease that involves an excessive amount of body fat. It’s a condition in which a person carries excess body fat or weight. This condition increases the risks of several chronic diseases.

How do you know if the person is obese?

A person can be diagnosed as obese if he has a high body index or BMI. BMI is a tool used by doctors to calculate a person's appropriate weight for their age, sex and height.

A body index of 30.0 - 34.0 can be classified as obese class I. Obese class II has a body index of 35.0 and 39.9 and Extreme obesity has a body index between 40.0 and higher.

What is overweight?


The term overweight can be classified as to which the weight between normal weight and obesity.  If a person’s BMI falls between 25.0 to 30.0 then he is considered as overweight.  Like obesity, an overweight person is also prone to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

What causes overweight and obesity?

A better understanding of what causes overweight and obesity can help you treat and avoid these conditions.

It is important to know that overweight or obesity is not just all about food. It has more than one cause.

•    Food - we gain weight when we eat a lot of food. Depending on your diet, it is most likely for a person to gain weight if they eat more calories in the food that he eats.  Eating food that has a high content of fats and sugar can contribute to gaining weight. Example of foods that may increase the risk of gaining weight are the following: fried foods, fast foods, processed and fatty meats, most dairy products, foods with high content of sugar like baked goods, ready to make cereals, canned and packed foods, sodas, sweetened juices,artificial sweetners and alcoholic drinks, high-carb foods and processed foods.

•    Activity - The imbalance between eating a lot of calories without exercise is a great contributor to weight gaining. When a person consumes many calories than they use as energy the body will store the excess calories and it becomes fat. Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This normalizes the function of our body and in the case of avoiding overweight and obesity, exercise and such activities burn the excess calories or fats that are stored in our body. The less you move around the fewer the calories that are being burned in your body.

•    Environment - If the environment leads you to move less and eat more, then you are more prone to being overweight and obese.

•    Not getting enough sleep - Research has shown that missing enough sleep is one cause of overweight or obesity. Sleep deprivation may lead to such conditions because it leads to hormonal changes that increase the person's appetite to eat food. When a person doesn’t have enough sleep, the body produces a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite. Also, lack of sleep will lead our body to lower the production of a hormone called leptin which suppresses the appetite.

•    Chronic Stress - Ever heard of the word "stress eating?" Chronic stress can lead to an increase in a person's appetite that leads to cravings of unhealthy foods. Eating emotionally increases the level of cortisol which causes you to crave for unhealthy food. Excess nervous energy could also lead you to eat more than you normally should.  This may be a slow process that may take several months but the accumulation of fats will be stored in the body. Chronic stress will also deprive the person with physical activities that should have burned the fats that are stored in the body.

•   Medications - Several medications can also lead to weight gain. Medications like antipsychotics such as olanzapine, risperidone quetiapine, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, gabapentin, hypoglycemic medications, and some antidepressants.

How to avoid or treat overweight and obesity?

The first thing that you need to do is talk to your physician or health provider. Discuss with them your daily habits. What kind of food you eat and your daily routine. You may also discuss with your physician your family's health background.

Early treatment is best for everyone. As soon as you are able to talk to your health care provider or doctor, the better. The doctors will help you manage your activities. Remember that obesity or overweight may be a disease but it is treatable.

•    Choose what you eat - start with what you feed your body. Eat foods that are healthy and as much as possible avoid foods that have high-calorie count and sugar. Changing the eating habit may be hard because we are surrounded by foods that have low nutritional values (foods to eat to lose weight). Know what you eat. There are many options to have a healthy diet. You may not deprive your body all of a sudden by not eating this kind of food. Control your food intake. Again, know what you eat. Being mindful of what you put in your mouth could definitely improve your eating habits.

•    Physical Activity Modifications - It's time to move. Yes, physical activity is one way to avoid or cure overweight and obesity. Start by creating or making an exercise program (yoga for weight loss). For starters, while making a physical activity plan, start by making it realistic, simple and fun. Make it happen and make it a daily habit. Make exercise one of your priorities. It can address both the issue of losing weight and breaking off from stress. Whether you go to a gym or just by taking a walk, it is very important to incorporate regular exercise in your daily routine.

•    Healthy Lifestyle  - Among everything else, keep a healthy lifestyle for weight loss. Eat healthily and live healthily. Avoid things that will lead you to stress and limit the time you spend being physically inactive.


Being obese or overweight is a disease. But the good news is that it can be prevented and cured. It may be a tough process but with will and determination, it is very much possible. Having your ideal weight is not impossible. Keep a healthy lifestyle, so you can make it possible.

 

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