What is Obesity?

Obesity is an excessive body fat accumulation, and obesity prevalence in the United States is increasing. About 35% of women and 31% of men are obese. Obesity is 2 times as common Obesity Factsin older individuals as in younger ones.

Obesity is approx. the same among white and black males, and significantly higher among hispanic and black females than white females. Obesity results from consuming more calories than the person’s body uses. Current study suggests, the genetic influence contributes to approx. 33% of body weight, but such contribution can be less or more in a particular individual. In America, Obesity is more than 2 times as common among females in lower socioeconomic group as among females in higher socioeconomic groups. Woman in higher socioeconomic groups have more resources and time for the exercises and dieting that enable her to conform to such social demands.

There are 2 abnormal eating patterns that contribute to Obesity in some individuals as night-eating syndrome and binge eating disorder, which can be triggered by emotional upset and stress. In the night-eating disorder, the morning appetite lack is followed by insomnia, agitation and overeating in the evening. Obese individuals, especially those who became obese during their childhood, can have up to 5 times more fat cells than normal weight individuals. Because cell number can not be lowered, weight may be lost only by decreasing of fat amount in each cell. Decreased physical activities are probably 1 of the major reasons for the Obesity’s increase among individuals in affluent society.

In the America, Obesity is more than 2 times as common currently as it was in 1900s, even through the average calory number used daily has lowered by 10%. Sedentary individuals require less calories, increasing physical activities causing individuals with normal weight to eat more, but might not result in obese individuals to eat more. In rare cases, hormonal disorders, brain damage, and certain drugs such as antidepressants and corticosteroids result in weight gain.

The causes of Obesity in adolescents are similar as those in adults. Many obese adolescents become socially isolated and have a poor self-image. Schools provide nutritional education opportunities and for physical activities, but such programs sometimes don’t do enough to enable adolescents to keep weight under control.Behavior modification may help them keep obesity under control. It includes reducing calorie intake by increasing physical activities (swimming, walking, dancing or biking), making permanent eating changes, and establishing a well-balance diet of ordinary food. Summer camps for adolescents who are obese, often help them lose a significant weight amount. Counseling to help children cope with their poor self-esteem and problems, can also be beneficial.

The symptoms of Obesity may include shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, because of excess of fat accumulation in the chest and below the diaphragm can put pressure of the person’s lungs. A breathing difficulty can severely interfere with sleeping, resulting in sleep apnea, causing to daytime sleeping and other problems. Obesity can result in different orthopedic disorders such as osteoarthritis’ worsening, especially in ankles, knees or hips, and low back pain.

Skin disorders are especially common. Because an individual with Obesity has relatively little body surface for his or her weight, he or she can not get rid of body heat efficiently and such individual sweats more than thinner people. Ankles and foot swelling is also common. Obese people have a higher risk of becoming sick or dying of most diseases, in accidents and of injuries. Risk also depends on excess of fat location. Fat has tendency to accumulate in the abdomen (called abdominal obesity) in males and in the buttocks and thighs (called lower-body obesity) in females. Abdominal Obesity may cause high lipids (fats) levels in the blood, diabetes that begins in adulthood, and high blood pressure. Losing weight lowers blood pressure in most individuals with high blood pressure and allows to over 50% individuals with diabetes to stop use of insulin or other medication treatment.

Specific cancers are more common in obese people than in people who are not; they include colon, rectal and prostate cancers in men; ovaries, uterus and breast cancers in women. Gallbladder disease happens 3 times more frequently in obese people and menstrual disorders are also common in women with obesity. In order to lose weight, obese individuals should consume lesser amount of calories than they expend.

Techniques used to achieve such goal may be classified into 3 groups:

1. Clinical programs provided by licensed health care practitioner

2. Nonclinical program provided by counselor who is not licensed health care practitioner

3. Self-help, in which individuals either in groups or on their own, using information from books or other sources.

Generally, the weight management program depends on behavior modification. Dieting is commonly considered less essential than making permanent changes in exercise habits and eating. A reputable program teaches individuals how to make gradual, sensible, safe eating habits changes that is increasing the complex carbohydrates consumption (pasta, bread, vegetables, and fruits) and reduce fat consumption. For mildly obese individuals, only the modest dietary fat and calories restriction is advised. A program consisting of low calorie diet of about 800 calories per day, is available for moderately obese individuals who wish to lose weight more faster. Such diet is safe if medically supervised. But such programs are expensive and individuals tend to regain weight after stopping such diet.

In many cases, the doctor prescribes prescription drugs to lower body weight. Usually, this drug reduces weight by appr. 10% within six months and maintaining the loss as long as the drugs are continued to use. When the person discontinues use of such a drug, the weight is quickly regained. The most severe complications of obesity (more than 100% overweight) needs immediate treatment and the only choice is surgery.

Usually, surgery (such as the Gastric Bypass or LAP-Band) is performed to lower stomach size and therefore a food amount that may be eaten at one time, may cause large weight loss, which usually equal approx. half of the individual’s excess weight, generally eighty to one hundreed fifty pounds. At the beginning, weight loss is rapid, and later is slows gradually over a period, and is frequently maintained. The loss of weight usually relieves complications and improves the individual’s mood, helps the person to relate to other people, ability to work, self-esteem, activity level, and body image.

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