On This Page
What is Obesity?
Obesity means you have an excessive amount of body fat. It’s more than just about weight. In fact, it’s about the fat that can harm your health. Doctors usually define obesity based on body mass index (BMI), which calculates weight in relation to height. According to the CDC, Almost 1 in 5 children and more than 1 in 3 adults are obese.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity happens for various reasons, including:
- Genetics: Your genes might affect the amount of body fat you store and where this fat is distributed.
- Eating Habits: Consuming high amounts of foods that are high in fats and sugars can lead to obesity.
- Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity means you don’t burn as many calories, which can lead to weight gain.
- Environment: Your surroundings and lifestyle choices can affect your weight. This includes your community, the types of food you have access to, and your daily habits.
- Medical Conditions: Some illnesses and medications can contribute to weight gain.
Health Risks Associated with Obesity
When you have obesity, you’re at risk for many other health problems, such as:
- Heart Disease: The extra fat strains your heart, leading to heart-related problems.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity can influence the way your body utilizes insulin to control blood sugar levels.
- Certain Cancers: Obesity may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Sleep Apnea: Excess weight can affect your breathing and lead to sleep apnea.
- Joint Problems: Extra weight puts more pressure on your joints, leading to conditions like osteoarthritis.
Treating obesity involves multiple steps, and it’s about more than just losing weight. It includes:
- Dietary Changes: Eating a balanced diet that’s lower in calories but rich in nutrients.
- Physical Activity: Regular exercise helps burn calories and improve your health.
- Behavior Changes: Develop new habits to help you eat healthier and exercise more regularly.
- Medical Treatment: In some cases, medication or surgery may be options to help with weight loss.
You can take steps to prevent obesity:
- Healthy Eating: Choose foods that are high in nutrients but lower in fat and calories.
- Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days.
- Monitoring Your Weight: Keeping an eye on your weight helps you notice small weight gains before they become bigger.
Living with Obesity
If you’re living with obesity, it’s important to focus on your overall health:
- Seek Support: Talk to your doctor or a dietitian for guidance and support.
- Set Realistic Goals: Make small, achievable changes in your diet and exercise routine.
- Be Patient: Weight loss takes time. Focus on making healthy choices every day.
Further Reading: What Causes Weight Gain and Obesity?