Obesity occurs when a person has excess body fat or weight that might affect their health. For example, a doctor will suggest that people have obesity with a high body mass index.
BMI is one tool that doctors use to assess whether or not a person weighs their age, sex, and height. It combines a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) divided by the square of their height in meters.
A BMI between 25-29.9 means that a person is excess weight. A person has obesity if person BMI is 30 or higher.
If people have obesity, it can increase their risk of developing several other health conditions, including arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.
Read on to find out why a person develops obesity.
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Table of Contents
Eating too many calories
When a person consumes extra calories than they use as energy, their body will store the excess calories as fat. This can lead to obesity.
Also, some foods high in fats and sugars — are likely to lead to weight gain.
Items that lead to increase the risk of weight gain include:
- Fast foods
- Fatty and processed meats
- Many dairy products
- Baked goods, ready-made breakfast cereals, and cookies
- Fried foods, such as french fries
- Foods containing hidden sugars
- Sodas, sweetened juices, and alcoholic drinks.
- Breads and bagels
People with diets that consist of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and water are at risk of gaining more weight if they overeat or if genetic factors increase their risk.
Fresh foods or whole grains contain fiber, which encourages healthy digestion and helps people feel full for longer.
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Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Many people lead a more sedentary lifestyle than their parents and grandparents did.
Some examples include:
- Playing games on a mobile or computer instead of doing physical activities outside.
- Going outside by car instead of walking or cycling.
Also, physical activity affects a person’s hormones work, and hormones affect how the body processes food.
Several types of research have suggested that physical activity helps keep insulin levels stable, and that unstable insulin levels lead to weight gain.
Just physical activity need not be an exercise in the gym. Walking or cycling, physical work, climbing stairs, and household tasks contribute.
Not sleeping enough
Some study has suggested that missing sleep increases the risk of developing obesity.
Researchers analyzed study evidence for over 28,000 children and 15,000 adults in the UK from 1977 to 2013. They concluded that sleep loss increased the risk of obesity in both adults and children. Moreover, the changes affected children as young as five years old.
The organization team suggested that sleep deprivation leads to obesity due to hormonal changes that increase appetite.
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One study showed how liquid fructose and sugar in beverages might change glucose metabolism and lead to fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, people with obesity have metabolic syndrome.
After feeding rats a 10 percent fructose solution for 12-14 days, the scientists noted that their metabolisms were starting to change.
Investigators now believe that there is a link between high fructose intake and obesity and metabolic syndrome. As a result, authorities have increased concerns about using high fructose corn syrup to sweeten drinks and other products.
The researchers noted that “increased fructose intake important predictor of metabolic risk in young people.” They called for changes in young people’s diets to prevent these problems.
Avoiding fructose corn syrup
Some items that include high fructose corn syrup include:
- Energy drinks, sodas, and sports drinks
- Ice cream and candy
- Coffee creamer
- Sauces and condiments, including salad dressings, barbecue sauce, and ketchup
- Sweetened foods, such as canned foods, yogurt, and juices,
- Breads and other ready-made baked goods
- Breakfast cereals, cereal bars, and “energy” or “nutrition” bars
A person can decrease their intake of high fructose corn syrup and other additives by:
- Always check nutrition labels before buying.
- Opting for less processed items where possible
- Baking products at your home
Some foods contain sweeteners, and these can have adverse effects.
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A faulty gene called the fatty mass, and obesity-associated gene is responsible for cases of obesity.
A study od 2013 pointed to a link between this gene and:
- A higher food intake
- Behaviors that lead to obesity
- A choice for high-calorie foods
- An impaired ability to feel full
What age is considered childhood obesity?
Obesity and overweight are defined as follows for children aged between 5–19 years: overweight is body mass index for age greater than one standard deviation over the WHO Growth Reference center; and. Obesity is greater than two standard variations above the WHO Growth Reference center.
Frequently asked question
How does obesity affect the body?
Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating, and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. It does this through a variety of pathways, some as straightforward as the mechanical stress of carrying extra pounds and some involving complex changes in hormones and metabolism.
What foods prevent obesity?
- Whole grains (whole wheat, steel-cut oats, brown rice, quinoa)
- Vegetables (colorful variety-not potatoes)
- Whole fruits (not fruit juices)
- Nuts, seeds, beans, and other healthful sources of protein (fish and poultry)
- Plant oils (olive and other vegetable oils)
How can you manage obesity?
The best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly. To do this you should: eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet as recommended by your GP or weight loss management health professional (such as a dietitian) join a local weight loss group.
Why do we need to prevent obesity?
Preventing obesity helps you reduce your risk of a host of associated health issues, from heart disease to diabetes to some cancers and much more. Like many chronic conditions, obesity is preventable with a healthy lifestyle—staying active, following a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and so on.
Several factors play an important role in the development of obesity. For example, genetic traits can increase the risk in some people.
Eating a healthy diet that contains fresh foods and getting daily exercise will reduce the risk of obesity in people.
However, people with a genetic predisposition to the condition find it harder to maintain a moderate weight.
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