Causes and Treatments of Obesity
Obesity is defined as a medical condition in which excess body fat accumulates and causes adverse effects on overall health. Those with a BMI, otherwise known as Body Mass Index, of 30 or greater and no other weight-related issues are classified as obese.
Those with a BMI of 27 or higher, who also have type-2 diabetes, or other weight-related conditions, are classified as obese. A BMI is calculated by taking one’s height and weight, and comparing the ratio by medical standards. A BMI of 30-35 reduces overall life expectancy by two to five years, while a BMI of 40 or over reduces lifespan by over ten years.
Obesity is one of the most treatable and preventable diseases in the world. In the United States, one out of three people are overweight, with one out of four being classified as obese. A modern “western diet” attributes to the obesity epidemic. A western diet contains large amounts of convenience, pre-packaged, sugar-filled, and fast foods. Food manufacturers respond to customers’ busy lifestyles by producing more and more foods that contribute to the expanding waistline epidemic. These convenience foods make life easier for busy people on the go, but at a great cost to their overall health. Fast foods and convenience foods are loaded with salt, partially-hydrogenated Trans fats, sugar, and corn syrup which are detrimental to one’s health and weight. These ingredients are added to foods to enhance flavor, while prolonging shelf life. Consumers purchase these foods for these very reasons, which results in the average person consuming thousands of calories more per day than their bodies need to function.
The result of sustained overeating and little or no exercise is low energy, poor overall health, and obesity. Some causes of obesity can be contributed to thyroid-related issues, prescription medications, and certain medical disorders. These cases make up a low overall percentage of obesity rates.
Obesity causes a large number of health problems. Among them are heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type-2 diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, liver disease, high blood cholesterol, asthma, infertility, gout, and osteoarthritis, just to name a few.
Fortunately, obesity is one of the easiest conditions to improve or reverse completely. When one adheres to a proper diet and exercise program, administered by their doctor, improvements in weight, mood, energy, and weight-related conditions improve or reverse completely. When one chooses a diet rich in high-fiber foods such as beans, whole grains and legumes coupled with lean meats, poultry, and fish, changes begin to occur. Adding fruits and vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy rounds out a perfect diet and ensures that one obtains nutritionally-rich foods that are conducive to weight loss and health. Olive oil used instead of butter and whole grain pasta replaces white breads and white semolina pasta. Fruits and vegetables replace chips, cookies, cakes and soda. Lean meats, poultry, and fish replace deep-fried and high-fat meats. These significant dietary changes yield positive changes almost immediately, as the body rids itself of toxins from chemically-processed foods.
When one begins to embark on an exercise program that focuses on incorporating both cardio and weight-bearing exercises, their muscles get stronger and their bodies get leaner. There are many excellent forms of cardio exercises that will reduce obesity. Walking, running, bicycling, jogging, dancing, aerobics, stair-climbing, and swimming are among some of the best exercises for weight loss and heart health. One can incorporate free weights, exercise bands, Pilates machines, or resistance machines to target individual muscle groups and strengthen large muscle groups. Exercise sessions that incorporate cardio and weight-bearing exercise often have the most impact on weight loss.
For some individuals, prescription drugs are another alternative or supplement to a diet and exercise program. A doctor may prescribe a weight loss drug for a patient with a life-threatening condition which is a direct result of carrying excess weight. In instances where a morbidly obese patient cannot physically exercise due to their size, or cannot adhere to a calorie-restricted diet, weight loss drugs may be prescribed. These drugs are prescribed to produce faster results than a traditional diet and exercise program. Many of these drugs have significant side effects associated with their usage. It is important to check with a doctor for advice on weight loss, exercise programs, obesity, or weight loss drugs. Orlistat, Phentermine, Diethylpropion, and Phendimetrazine are among the most popular prescribed drugs for promoting weight loss. Most act primarily as an appetite suppressant, which allows the patient to consume drastically fewer calories on a daily basis.
Although obesity is considered one of the largest and most serious health-related epidemics of the 20th and 21st centuries, legislative regulation has made significant changes to improve obesity rates amongst adults and children. Limits have been placed on food manufacturers, restaurants, and fast food establishments regarding their usage of Trans fats. The organic food and “green-living” trend continues to influence grocery stores and supermarkets. More organic and whole food options are available in grocery stores than ever before. Local co-ops and farmer’s markets encourage the power of pesticide-free food that also supports local business and farming. On the exercise front, new lower-cost gyms are popping up everywhere, making the gym an affordable option for virtually everyone. These facilities offer a wide array of cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, and other amenities with unlimited usage. Obesity can be cured, if one has the desire and willpower to commit to a lifestyle change.