Obesity can happen for a number of reasons, including diet, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic factors, a health condition, or the use of certain medications. A number of treatment options can help people to achieve and maintain a suitable weight. However, not all these treatments are sustainable and many people find their weight increasing after they stop taking the treatment.
Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. To determine your body mass index, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.
30.0 and higher
For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obesity category even though they don’t have excess body fat.
Although there are genetic, behavioral, metabolic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.
Most peoples diets are too high in calories — often from fast food and high-calorie beverages. People with obesity might eat more calories before feeling full, feel hungry sooner, or eat more due to stress or anxiety.
Osteoarthritis: Additional strain on the joints can lead to bone and cartilage degeneration.
Coronary heart disease: Heart disease becomes more likely when a person carries extra weight. This is often due to high cholesterol levels and the extra weight putting additional strain on the heart and blood vessels.
Gallbladder disease: Consuming foods that are high in sugar and fat may not necessarily lead to obesity, but it can cause the liver to overproduce cholesterol, resulting in gallstones.
High blood pressure: Excess adipose tissue in the body may secrete substances that affect the kidneys. This can result in high blood pressure, or hypertension. The body may also produce extra insulin, and this, too, can raise blood pressure.
Respiratory problems: These can occur if the extra weight puts pressure on the lungs, reducing the space available for breathing.
Several cancers: According to the CDC, 13 types of cancer become more likely to occur if a person has obesity, including colorectal cancer.
Sleep apnea: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) note that weight reduction often improves the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Stroke: Obesity often develops alongside a buildup of cholesterol. In time, this increases the risk of blockages in the blood vessels. These, in turn, can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Type 2 diabetes: This is a key aspect of metabolic syndrome.
Replacing high-fat foods with more fruits and vegetables can help a person to lose weight.
One reason why excess weight and fat accumulate is when a person consumes more calories than they use. Over time, this can lead to weight gain.
Some types of food are more likely to lead to weight gain. Some processed foods contain additives, such as high-fructose corn syrup. This can cause changes in the body that result in additional weight gain.
Reducing the intake of processed, refined, and ready-made food that is high in sugar and fat, while increasing the consumption of whole grains and other high-fiber foods — such as fresh fruits and vegetables — can help a person to lose weight.
One advantage of a high-fiber diet is that the body feels full more quickly, making it less tempting to eat more. Whole grains help a person to feel full for longer, because they release their energy more slowly.
Fiber and whole grains can also help to reduce the risk of a number of conditions related to metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that involves a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems. It is more common in people with obesity.
A doctor or dietitian can help to suggest a strategy and possibly a suitable weight-loss program.
Trying to lose weight quickly by crash-dieting carries the following risks:
New health problems may develop.
Vitamin deficiencies can occur.
It is more difficult to achieve healthy weight loss.
In some cases, a doctor may suggest that a person with severe obesity should follow a very low-calorie liquid diet. A health professional should monitor this strategy to ensure that the person remains safe while following the diet.
2. Physical activity
Climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator can be good exercise.
While the body does burn some calories even when a person is just sitting or sleeping, for most people, the more active they are, the more calories the body will burn.
However, this can take time. To lose one pound of fat, a person needs to burn 3,500 calories.
Good ways to start getting active include:
using the stairs instead of the elevator
getting off the bus or train one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way