Obesity is an health disorder caused by excessive weight gain. Obesity is a function of environmental (diet, exercise, lifestyle, etc.), hormonal, and inherited (genetic) factors in varying degrees.
Obesity is generally caused by eating too much and moving too little. If you consume high amounts of energy, particularly fat and sugars, but don’t burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, much of the surplus energy will be stored by the body as fat.
Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than what’s considered healthy for his or her height.
Obesity happens over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might affect your weight include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active.
Obesity increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. If you have obesity, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases. For example, that means losing 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.
RISKS OF OBESITY
It’s very important to take steps to tackle obesity because, as well as causing obvious physical changes, it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Coronary heart disease some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancerstroke
Obesity can also affect your quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem (see below for more information about the health problems associated with obesity).
CAUSES OF OBESITY
Obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories – particularly those in fatty and sugary foods – than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
Obesity is an increasingly common problem because for many people modern living involves eating excessive amounts of cheap, high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting down, at desks, on sofas or in cars.
The best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly. To do this you should: eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet as recommended by your GP or weight loss management health professional (such as a dietitian)
JOIN A LOCAL WEIGHT LOSS GROUP
Take up activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming or tennis for 150 to 300 minutes (two-and-a-half to five hours) a week eat slowly and avoid situations where you know you could be tempted to over eat
You may also benefit from receiving psychological support from a trained healthcare professional to help change the way you think about food and eating.
If lifestyle changes alone don’t help you lose weight, a medication called orlistat may be recommended. If taken correctly, this medication works by reducing the amount of fat you absorb during digestion. Your GP will know whether orlistat is suitable for you. In rare cases, weight loss surgery may be recommended.
OTHER OBESITY-RELATED PROBLEMS
Obesity can cause a number of further problems, including difficulties with daily activities and serious health conditions. Day-to-day problems related to obesity include: Breathlessness, Increased sweating, Snoring, Difficulty doing physical activity, Often feeling very tired, Joint and back pain, low confidence and self-esteem, feeling isolated
The psychological problems associated with being obese can also affect your relationships with family and friends, and may lead to depression.
SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITIONS
Being obese can also increase your risk of developing many potentially serious health conditions, including: type 2 diabetes – a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high high blood pressure high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (where fatty deposits narrow your arteries), which can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke asthma metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity several types of cancer, including bowel cancer, breast cancer and womb cancer gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the oesophagus (gullet) gallstones – small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder reduced fertility osteoarthritis – a condition involving pain and stiffness in your joints
sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, which can lead to daytime sleepiness with an increased risk of road traffic accidents, as well as a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
liver disease and kidney disease
pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia (when a woman experiences a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure during pregnancy)
Obesity reduces life expectancy by an average of 3 to 10 years, depending on how severe it is. It’s estimated that obesity and being overweight contribute to at least 1 in every 13 deaths in Europe.
Source: Additional information from The National Health Service, which is the publicly funded national healthcare system for England and one of the four National Health Services for each constituent country of the United Kingdom. It is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world.