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The Health Risks of Obesity

Synopsis: Article looks at the health risks of obesity including obesity related diseases and healthy lifestyle changes.1

Author: Thomas C. Weiss Contact: Disabled World (www.disabled-world.com)

Published: 2015-08-01 Updated: 2020-09-01

Key Points:

While there are behavioral, genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity happens when a person takes in more calories than they burn through usual daily activities or exercise.

The good thing about obesity is that even modest weight loss may prevent or improve the health issues related to obesity.

Main Digest

Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat, not just a cosmetic concern. It increases a person's risk of health issues and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Being very obese means a person is particularly likely to experience health issues related to their weight.

The word obesity is defined as a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing rates in adults and children. Diet and exercise are the main treatments for obesity.

The good thing about obesity is that even modest weight loss may prevent or improve the health issues related to obesity. Dietary changes, behavioral changes, as well as increased physical activity can help a person to lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss surgery are other options people have for treatment of obesity.

Obesity is diagnosed when a person's body mass index (BMI) is thirty or greater. A body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. For the majority of people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. A person's BMI; however, does not directly measure body fat so some people such as muscular athletes may have a BMI in the obese category, even though they do not have excess body fat. It is important to ask a doctor if your BMI is an issue.

Diagram of a man with excess belly fat having his waistline measured by a doctor.
Diagram of a man with excess belly fat having his waistline measured by a doctor.

Causes of Obesity

While there are behavioral, genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity happens when a person takes in more calories than they burn through usual daily activities or exercise. What this means is that your body stores excess calories as fat. Obesity may at times be traced to a medical cause such as Cushing's syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome, or other diseases and conditions. The disorders; however, are rare and in general, the main causes of obesity include:

Risk Factors for Obesity

Obesity is usually the result of a combination of causes and contributing factors. These causes and contributing factors include the following:

Even if a person has one or more of these risk factors, it does not mean they are destined to become obese. A person may counteract the majority of these risk factors through physical exercise, diet and behavioral changes.

Complications of Obesity

If someone is obese they are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health issues. The health issues can include the following:

Obesity and Quality of Life

When a person is obese, their overall quality of life might be diminished. They may not have the ability to do things they used to do, such as participating in activities that are enjoyable. The person may avoid public places. People who are obese might experience discrimination as well.

People who are obese may experience other weight-related issues that can affect their quality of life. An obese person may experience depression, sexual issues, or disability. The person may also experience guilt, shame, social isolation and a decrease in their work achievement.

Data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009 - 2010 2, 3

U.S. Obesity Faqcts and Statistics

NOTE: Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. BMI charts for children compare their height and weight to other children of their same sex and age.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Thomas C. Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2015-08-01. Last Revised Date: 2020-09-01. Reference Title: The Health Risks of Obesity, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/fitness/diets/bodyfat/obesity-risks.php>The Health Risks of Obesity</a>. Abstract: Article looks at the health risks of obesity including obesity related diseases and healthy lifestyle changes. Retrieved 2021-02-28, from https://www.disabled-world.com/fitness/diets/bodyfat/obesity-risks.php - Reference Category Number: DW#440-11507.