WHAT ARE OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY?
The terms "overweight" and "obesity" refer to a person's overall body weight and whether it is too high. Overweight is having extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat, and/or water. Obesity is having a high amount of extra body fat. The most useful measure of overweight and obesity is body mass index (BMI). BMI is based on height and weight and is used for adults, children, and teens.
Millions of Americans and people worldwide are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for many diseases and conditions. The more body fat that you have and the more you weigh, the more likely you are to develop the following:
- Coronary heart disease/Coronary artery disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Breathing problems.
- Certain cancers (examples: colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancer).
- Abnormal blood fats (examples: high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol).
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Sleep apnea.
You can take steps to prevent or treat overweight or obesity. Follow a healthy eating plan and keep your calorie needs in mind.
Reaching and staying at a healthy weight is a long-term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it can also be a chance to lower your risk of other serious health problems. With the right treatment and motivation, it's possible to lose weight and lower your long- term risk.
WHAT CAUSES OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY?
1. A lack of energy balance most often causes overweight and obesity. Energy balance means that your energy in equals your energy out.
Energy in is the amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks. Energy out is the amount of energy your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active.
To maintain a healthy weight, your energy in and out don't have to balance exactly every day. It's the balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight. The following is a simple illustration of this:
- The same amount of energy IN and energy OUT over time = weight stays the same
- More energy IN than energy OUT over time = weight gain
- More energy OUT than energy IN over time = weight loss
2. Inactive lifestyle.
3. Environment (examples: eating oversized food portions, lack of access to healthy foods).
4. Genes and family history.
5. Health conditions (examples: hypothyroidism, cushing's syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome).
6. Medicines (examples: corticosteroids, antidepressants, seizure medicines).
7. Emotional factors.
11. Lack of sleep.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS OF OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY?
Being overweight or obese isn't a cosmetic problem. It greatly raises the risk in adults for many diseases and conditions I already mentioned in the overview above.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY?
Overweight and obesity affect many people of all ages, sexes, and racial/ethnic groups. This serious health problem hs been growing over the last 30 years especially in the U.S.
OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY IN CHILDREN AND TEENS
In the U.S. alone, many children have become heavier in the past 30 years. According to recent surveys, about 1 in 6 American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. The statistics also suggests that overweight and obesity are having a greater effect on minority groups, including African-Americans and Hispanics.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SYMPTOMS OF OBESITY?
Weight gain usually happens over time. Most people know when they've gained weight. Some of the signs of overweight or obesity include the following:
- Having extra fat around the waist.
- The scale showing that you've gained weight.
- A higher than normal body mass index and waist circumference.
- Clothes feeling tight and needing a larger size.
The most common way to find out whether you're overweight or obese is to figure out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat, and it's a good gauge of your risk for disease that occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of disease. You can check with your doctor about the body mass index for adults, children and teens.
INVOLVEMENT OF OTHER SPECIALISTS
Your doctor may send you to other health care specialists if you need expert care to treat your overweight and obesity problem. These specialists may include the following:
- A registered dietician or nutritionist.
- An exercise physiologist or trainer.
- A psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker to help treat depression or stress.
- A bariatric surgeon if weight-loss surgery is an option for you.
Successful weight-loss treatments include setting goals and making lifestyle changes, such as eating fewer calories and doing physical activity regularly. Medicines and weight-loss surgery also are options for some people if lifestyle changes are not enough.
HOW CAN OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY BE PREVENTED?
Following a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent overweight and obesity. Many lifestyle habits begin during childhood. Thus, parents and families should encourage their children to make healthy choices, such as following a healthy diet and doing enough physical activity.
Make the following healthy lifestyle as your goals:
- Follow a healthy eating plan.
- Focus on portion size when you eat.
- Be active like going for a walk or run.
- Reduce your screen time by limiting the use of TV, computers, and video games.
- Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference.
- In children, keep track of their growth pattern.