In general, Overweight and Obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. In that case, a crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI).
Whereby, a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters).
Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity.
Dietary changes increased physical activity, and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss surgery are additional options for treating obesity.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. And for your information, Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
To enumerate, Morbid Obesity is when a person has extreme amounts of excess body fat and a body mass index or BMI greater than 35. BMI is a scale that helps doctors and other medical professionals determine if a person is within a healthy weight range.
Some doctors also consider a person to be morbidly obese if their BMI is not over 35, but they are more than 100 pounds overweight. When a person is morbidly obese, they are at greater risk of heart disease, certain illnesses, and conditions that directly affect their quality of life.
A person can be obese without being considered morbidly obese. A person who is obese has a BMI of 30 or above.
An obese person has a greater chance of developing:
Morbid obesity occurs when a person reaches a level of obesity that greatly increases the chances of developing one of these conditions.
These conditions are often referred to as comorbidities and are responsible for causing disabilities or even death.
What causes Obesity?
If you think you may be obese, and especially if you’re concerned about weight-related health problems, see your doctor or health care provider. You and your provider can evaluate your health risks and discuss your weight-loss options.
Although there are genetic, behavioral, 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.
Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. However, these disorders are rare, and, in general, the principal causes of obesity are:
- Inactivity: If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you use through exercise and normal daily activities.
- Unhealthy diet and eating habits: Weight gain is inevitable if you regularly eat more calories than you burn. And most Americans’ diets are too high in calories and are full of fast food and high-calorie beverages.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Obesity?
The main symptom of morbid obesity is having a BMI of 35 or higher and obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes or hypertension.
Other symptoms may include:
- excess fat buildup around the body
- being easily winded
- difficulty walking
- trouble breathing
For instance, a person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered Obese. Whereas, a person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered Overweight. See more results as tabulated on the figure chart below.
|30.0-34.9||Obese (Class I)|
|35.0-39.9||Obese (Class II)|
|40.0 and higher||Extreme obesity (Class III)|
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 obese category. Even though they don’t have excess body fat.
What are the Risks of Obesity?
When you’re obese, your overall quality of life may be diminished. You may not be able to do things you used to do, such as participating in enjoyable activities. You may avoid public places. Obese people may even encounter discrimination.
Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
Firstly, your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed.
Secondly, genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise.
» Family lifestyle
Obesity tends to run in families. If one or both of your parents are obese, your risk of being obese is increased. That’s not just because of genetics. Family members tend to share similar eating and activity habits.
If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you burn through exercise and routine daily activities.
Having medical problems, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which contributes to weight gain.
» Unhealthy diet
A diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food and laden with high-calorie beverages, and oversized portions contribute to weight gain.
» Medical problems
In some people, obesity can be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and other conditions.
Medical problems, such as arthritis, also can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.
» Certain medications
Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity.
These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids, and beta-blockers.
» Social and economic issues
Research has linked social and economic factors of obesity. Avoiding obesity is difficult if you don’t have safe areas to exercise.
Similarly, you may not have been taught healthy ways of cooking, or you may not have money to buy healthier foods.
In addition, the people you spend time with may influence your weight — you’re more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives.
Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity.
In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism.
These changes also reduce calorie needs and can make it harder to keep off excess weight. If you don’t consciously control what you eat and become more physically active as you age, you’ll likely gain weight.
During pregnancy, a woman’s weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
Quitting smoking is often associated with weight gain. And for some, it can lead to enough weight gain that the person becomes obese.
In the long run, however, quitting smoking is still a greater benefit to your health than continuing to smoke.
» Lack of sleep
Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.
Even if you have one or more of these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to become obese. You can counteract most risk factors through diet, physical activity and exercise, and behavior changes.
What Complications are Related to Obesity?
If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
- High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes and Gallbladder disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol
- Heart disease and Stroke
- Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
- Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
- Gynecological problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
- Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
In addition, there are other Overweight related issues that may affect your quality of life. Including,
- Sexual problems or Low libido
- Shame and guilt
- Social isolation
- Lower work achievement
What are the Preventive Measures?
In theory, anyone can become morbidly obese. For someone to gain weight and become morbidly obese, they must consume more calories than their body can burn and use. After all, the body stores unnecessary calories as fat.
As more and more calories are consumed, the fat stores grow larger, leading to obesity or, as worst-case, morbid obesity.
Whether you’re at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems.
Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight. Such as daily exercise, a healthy diet, and a long-term commitment to watch what you eat and drink.
» Exercise regularly
Important to realize, you need to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking and swimming.
» Follow a healthy eating plan
Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid saturated fat and limit sweets and alcohol. Eat three regular meals a day with limited snacking.
You can still enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as an infrequent treat. Just be sure to choose foods that promote a healthy weight and good health most of the time.
» Know and avoid the food traps that cause you to eat
Identify situations that trigger out-of-control eating. Try keeping a journal and write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling, and how hungry you are.
After a while, you should see patterns emerge. You can plan ahead and develop strategies for handling these types of situations and stay in control of your eating behaviors.
» Monitor your weight regularly
By the same token, people who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off excess pounds.
Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working. And can help you detect small weight gains before they become big problems.
» Be consistent
Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays as much as possible increases your chances of long-term success.
Left untreated, a person with obesity can develop any number of more serious health conditions. These conditions can be limiting and potentially fatal.
Be that as it may, when treated, obesity can be reversed, and the chances of developing other medical conditions are greatly reduced. Diet and exercise are the most effective, long-term solutions to reversing morbid obesity.
As can be seen, from the above-revised guide, overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases. Including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise. Especially in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.
Simply put, obesity is an ever-growing health problem. As the number of overweight and obese Kenyans rises so does the number who are severely or morbidly obese.
In other words, Morbid Obesity is a serious health condition that results from an abnormally high body mass index.
Finally, a person with morbid obesity may have difficulty performing daily functions. Such as walking and breathing, and is at increased risk for many serious health problems.