Obesity – One of the worst epidemics around!
Obesity is a disease that has the potential to wreak havoc in one’s life as it leads to various diseases such as heart attack, diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. There are about 60 million people in the United States who suffer from it. Studies suggest that more than one-third of women whose ages are between 20 and 74 tend to be obese. The reason? Well, the increased inclination towards eating pre-packaged foods, fast foods, junk foods and our hectic lives not making it possible for us to live an active life!
So, how can obesity be defined? People typically tend to think of the term ‘obese’ as just being excessively fat or overweight. To be honest, nothing could be farther from the truth. The basic difference between being overweight and being obese is that overweight individuals typically weigh more because of the excessive weight of their bone, fat, muscle and water components of the body. On the other hand, obese individuals have surplus amounts of body fat.
So how do we know that a person is obese?
Well, a majority of healthcare professionals claim that men who have more than 25 percent body fat are to be considered as being obese. However, women who have over 30 percent body fat are the ones who are obese. The reason why there is a difference in terms of this particular percentage is because women tend to physiologically have far more body fat as compared to men.
Obesity and its statistics
Speaking on a global level, there are about 1 billion overweight individuals all over the world, and about 300 million of them are considered as being clinically obese! Moreover, it is believed that the highest affected by obesity are Non-Hispanic blacks, who account for around 49.5% of all obese people. Obesity also affects 39.1% Hispanics and 34.4% of non-Hispanic whites.
Believe it or not, but obese individuals spend nearly $147 billion each year to get treated! Back in the year 2008, the medical expenses that people who were obese had to cover equalled nearly $1,429 more than those of normal weight individuals.
Know your Numbers
Sedentary lifestyle has increased the incidence of obesity. Obesity has been defined as a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2. What is BMI? BMI is body mass index that can be calculated by dividing your weight over your height in meters.
Underweight = <18
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
You can check your BMI through National Heart, lung and Blood Institute website. The link is
According to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute “If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.”
The connection between obesity and heart diseases
The development of cardiovascular diseases is largely associated with being obese. The worst part is that as you continue to gain body fat, the chances of you developing a heart disease increase as well.
Obesity normally triggers development of high blood pressure, which is obviously going to damage your arteries, thereby leading to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The worst part is that hypertension additionally has the tendency to damage your kidneys, and leave a severe impact over your heart as well. The increased amounts of blood that needs to be pumped out by the heart means that it needs to work extra hard to make sure that the body receives ample amounts of blood. This, in the long term, is going to lead to heart failure. More importantly, obesity triggers Type 2 diabetes, which is one of the most well-known and acknowledged causes of heart disease.
Increases the bad cholesterol, the LDL
Decreases the good cholesterol, the HDL
Increase the risk for diabetes
Increase the blood pressure
Increases the risk for sleep apnea
Treatment of obesity – How to lose weight and live a healthier life
There isn’t single prescription that can help you lose weight and live a better life. However, you would need to try out several different things simultaneously, which, over time, are going to make it possible for you to lose weight. Some of them are:
Take reduced salt diet
The first thing that you need to do is stop eating things that are salty. The reason is that this will make it possible for you to eliminate water retention by losing out the accumulated water in your body. This also reduces the chances of you developing high blood pressure.
Don’t skip meals, particularly your breakfast
You must not skip meals, and it is necessary for you to have your breakfast as well. The reason is that a nutritious breakfast is going to enhance your metabolic processes, allowing you to remain active all through the day.
Calories, Calories and Calories
Calories are most important than the type of diet. You need to burn more calories than what you eat or drink. Have a food diary and calculate the calories that you ate. Then calculate how many calories you burn in a day.
Weight loss = calories lost in a day
= Total calories intake (food, snacks & drinks) – Total calories spent in a day
If you have a negative balance, you are towards the path to success. Keep a diary for success.
Quit alcohol and sodas
This one is self-explanatory – you need to quit your consumption of high calorie alcoholic drinks such as beer and sodas right away, as these are significant triggers of obesity.
Exercise as much as possible
For you to lose weight; it is necessary to exercise on a regular basis. Join the gym, head out for jogging sessions, work out at home – all of these will make it easier for you to cut down on those accumulated fats!
Aim for losing 2 pounds every week as a drastic weight loss is not recommended and in long term lost pounds will be back again
Medications to lose weight
The only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug available currently is Orlistat. Orlistat has been shown to reduce 5 to 10 pounds in a year but it can cause flatulence and bloating.
Surgery to lose weight
There are two types of surgery available gastric banding and gastric bypass. These surgeries reduce the size of the stomach to about ½ a cup and also can decrease the appetite. They can reduce up to 80 pounds of weight in a year. Surgery is usually an option for morbidly obese individuals with a BMI greater than 35.