two women holding a placard that reads #obesity

A Look at Obesity

There’s a solid number when it comes to people suffering from obesity around the world. It’s rampant enough to warrant the gathering of more specific statistical data. Below are the numbers gathered from the first quarter of 2020 in the United States:

  • Obesity among men aged 20-39 is 40.3 percent.
  • Aged 40-59 is 46.4 percent.
  • 60 and over is 42.2 percent.
  • Obesity among women aged 20-39 is 39.7 percent.
  • Aged 40-59 is 43.3 percent.
  • 60 and over is 43.3 percent.

What is obesity?

Contrary to popular belief, obesity isn’t a concern connected to our cosmetic concerns. It’s not only looking and feeling fat but also having an excessive and unhealthy amount of fat in our body. It’s a medical problem that puts people suffering from it at risk of other health problems and diseases, namely:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Different types of cancers

There are a total of 13 identified cancers associated with obesity and overweight:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Postmenopausal breast cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

55 percent of all diagnosed cancer cases in women are found to be associated with obesity and overweight. For men, 24 percent are found to be connected.

Obesity’s weight as a medical problem is something difficult to avoid for some people. Some causes relate to inherited factors, environment, personal diet, and choices regarding physical activity.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to slowly recover or prevent health problems found to be associated with obesity. Modest and gradual weight loss are big factors when it comes to avoiding serious problems. Weight loss is achieved through changes in diet, increased physical activity, and behavioral changes. A person can also get prescription medication and weight loss procedures to treat obesity and prevent more health problems.

How is obesity diagnosed?

Obesity’s first stage of diagnosis is our body mass index (BMI). If it’s 30 or higher, you’re considered obese by medical experts. That’s why we can’t just self-diagnose or diagnose other people as obese when they’re on the heavier side. Especially when we’re not knowledgeable enough to do so. Such action can lead to people cowering and fear and coping through unhealthy methods.

Our BMI is determined by dividing our weight in pounds by our height in inches squared and multiplied by 703. Keep in mind that BMI numbers are not 100 percent accurate and don’t measure our body fat. You’ll notice this if you’re on the muscular side and your BMI goes under the obesity category even when you know you don’t have excess body fat.

What causes it?

After finding out how obesity is diagnosed, you’re most likely wondering what leads to the diagnosis. Aside from lifestyle choices and dietary, exercise, and environmental factors, we can look at these as risk factors for obesity:

1. Inheritance and influences

Inherited genes from your parents can affect the amount of body fat your body stores and where the fat is distributed. Genetics also plays a role in how efficiently your body turns food into energy, how your body controls your appetite, and how you burn calories when engaging in physical activity.

Unfortunately, obesity tends to run in families, and the cause isn’t only genetic. Shared eating and activity habits are also to blame.

2. Diseases and medication

Some people can look to certain diseases to trace back the cause of their obesity. Some known diseases contributing to obesity are Prader-Willi syndrome, an underactive thyroid, insulin resistance, Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

There are also types of medication that can contribute to weight gain if there’s not enough diet or physical activity compensation to counter its side effects. These medications include anti-seizure medication, antidepressants, diabetes medication, antipsychotic medication, steroids, and beta-blockers.

3. Social and economic factors

It’s not easy to avoid obesity if factors hinder you from engaging in physical activity, such as the lack of safe areas for running or walking exercises, you weren’t taught healthy cooking methods, or you don’t have enough access to healthier food.

4. Age

The first section of this article proved that obesity cases increase when you look at cases based on age. While it can occur at any age, hormonal changes and lifestyle changes are also big contributing factors.

The body changes, and the amount of muscles decreases, which leads to a decrease in metabolism. Another factor that contributes to obesity is reduced calorie requirement. An older person’s body won’t be able to burn excess fat.

the word obesity spelled out with blocks of letters

How can you avoid it?

At the risk of obesity or not, you can take steps that will steer you farther away from it. Practicing healthy habits will take you a long way. Exercise regularly, eat healthily, avoid food traps, monitor your weight, and most of all, stay consistent.

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