The understanding of obesity varies form one person to another, depending on the information he or she was able to gather. But in general, obesity and overweight is an indication of body weight that’s beyond the healthy range and is defined by excessive amount of fats in the body, especially those that are concentrated in the tummy area, thighs, and hips. This is usually more than what’s needed by the body to store energy, insulate heat, absorb shock, and other important functions.
BMI or the body mass index is used to indicate obesity. It is calculated by dividing the weight (in kilograms) with their height (in meters squared). As BMI is proportionate to the height, it is a useful indicator for the total amount of fat in the body. While having a BMI of 25 – 29.9 is already considered overweight, those with more than 30 is already considered suffering from obesity.
There is an alarming rate of increase of obesity in the United States alone. More than two thirds of the adult population are either overweight or suffering from obesity. The rate of obesity in children has also doubled in the 90s, making it a health issue that should be dealt with immediately.
Health risks posed by obesity
Obesity doesn’t only affect the esteem of a person, but his or her health as well. Around 112, 000 deaths in the United States are directly related to the health risks caused by obesity or patients with a Body Mass Index of over 30. BMI of 40 and above also significantly reduces a person’s life expectancy, and increase development of chronic diseases which are enumerated below.
1. Insulin resistance
Insulin is needed to transport sugar or blood glucose into the muscle cells to store energy. Through this, insulin helps maintaining blood sugar levels within the normal range. Insulin resistance therefore, is a condition where insulin is inefficient in transporting sugar into the muscle cells. The pancreas react by producing more insulin to help keep the blood sugar levels normal. Once the organ fails to keep up with the insulin resistance, the levels of blood glucose will begin to rise at an abnormal rate, resulting to type 2 diabetes.
2. Type 2 diabetes
The risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes will increase with the duration and degree of obesity. The disease is also commonly associated with central obesity, where the excess fats are concentrated around the waist.
3. Highblood pressure and hypertension
Obese women are more prone to high blood pressure than men suffering from obesity. Those with central obesity also have a higher risk of developing hypertension, compared to obese people whose fats are mainly distributed in the thighs and hips.
4. Heart attack / diseases
There is a 1 percent increase of chances of dying from coronary artery disease for people who have a BMI of more than 29 and for every 2.2 pounds or 1 kilogram increase in their body weight. Obese patients who already suffered from a heart attack also have higher chances of suffering from a second heart attack.