Obesity is an illness where excess body fat has gathered in one’s body such that it may have negative effects on one’s health. It is mainly caused by excessive food intake and lack of physical activity/exercise. However, in other cases, obesity is a result of family genes and medical conditions that are explained later in this article, so keep reading.
Obesity BMI Range
BMI is the word form for Body Mass Index that is used to categorize a person as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese, based on tissue mass (fat) and height. BMI is expressed in kilograms of weight per meter squared of height. One is categorized as obese if his/her BMI is over 30kg/m2
Below is the BMI ranges for underweight persons, normal weight, overweight and obese respectively:
18.5-25.0Kg/m2– Normal weight
30.0-35.0Kg/m2– Obese class I
35.0-40.0Kg/m2– Obese class II
40.0+Kg/m2– Obese class III
Why Is Obesity A Problem
Obesity is a huge problem that affects both developed and underdeveloped nations since it is a causing factor for other diseases. These diseases include; diabetes 2, cancer, hypertension and infertility. Most of these diseases are fatal when not treated in time thus increasing the mortality rate of the human population.
Obesity Health Problems
Obesity causes a variety of health problems; chronic diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, cancer, and without forgetting, depression to the patient.
Obesity Causes And Effects
The various causes of obesity include:
- High levels of calorie intake from processed foods, fast foods, and dairy products.
- Lack of physical activity and exercise.
- Decreased smoking which may result in increased appetite.
- lack of enough sleep which may result in uneven and eating disorders.
- Genetic traits.
- Medical reasons.
The effects of obesity can either be social or health-related, some of the health-related effects include;
- Increased mortality rate.
- Pancreatic cancer.
- Sleep apnea.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure.
Obesity’s effects on society are;
- Increased medical costs.
- Low work productivity and high absenteeism due to the high number of sick leave requests from employees.
- Stigmatization and discrimination resulting into depression.
People at the risk of being Obese
Obesity affects different people in society due to their respective lifestyles. Researchers state that people with high income are at a greater risk of being obese due to:
- High reliance on motor vehicles eliminates any burning of fat since most of these individuals don’t walk, let alone run.
- Encouraging the habit of taking fast foods with high calories which increases food energy and fats above healthy levels.
Researchers from Argentina also deduced that low education level is independently associated with obesity for people under the age of 30 years. Generally, men may have higher rates of overweight, however, women have higher rates of obesity in society.
Obesity In Children
A child is considered obese if their BMI is at the 95th percentile or above. Different factors lead to increased childhood obesity, although the main causes are changing diet and reducing physical activity. Children can develop obese illnesses later in life if they were exposed to antibiotics before 6 months of age, or having Polymorphic in their genes which affects their food intake levels. To curb obesity in children, parents need to improve their family’s diet and encourage the habit of regular exercising.
Is Obesity Genetic?
The difference in how people’s weight responds to the same environment suggests that genes play an undeniable role in causing obesity. However, a small percentage of the obese population is due to genes and family history e.g. patients suffering from monogenetic obesity. This is because this type of obesity is caused by natural variations in single genes that are involved in appetite control and food intake.
Is Obesity Hereditary?
Although obesity may affect children whose parents are obese, it does not necessarily mean that obesity is hereditary. Obesity is a result of children adopting their parents’ lifestyle which may trigger the action of specific genes in their bodies resulting in obesity. This is evident as some people who have genes responsible for obesity don’t become overweight. Bygone research studies have shown that specific genes found in 80% of children of two obese parents were obese.
Obesity With Fast Food
Fast food is processed food that is served for commercial resale as an alternative to home-cooked meals. Over the past decades, there has been an increase in fast food consumption due to its increased advertisement and a large number of travelers. This has been the case although there is public awareness on the high levels of sugar, calories and fat present in them. The high levels of calories present and intake of fast foods have resulted in an increased number of obese cases, more so to children and teenagers.
Obesity is widespread all over the world due to the increased consumption of fast foods, lifestyle habits and lack of exercise among the general population. From the latest research on world population review of 2019, obesity is more prevalent in American Samoa_which has an obesity rate of 74.6% and BMI of 34.9. Obesity is least prevalent in Vietnam_which has an obesity rate of 2.1% and a BMI of 21.6. According to the research, Libya has the highest number of obese people in Africa_with an obesity rate of 32.5% and a BMI of 27.7. Kenya has an obesity rate of 7.1% with a BMI of 23.1 while Ethiopia has the least obesity rate in Africa of 4.5% with a BMI of 20.6.
Obesity is one of the chief preventable cause of death in the world though it’s neglected, making it widespread. According to the World Health Organization, in America, obesity causes approximately 111,909 to 365,000 deaths per year and 1 million deaths in Europe.
To burst most of the world’s population bubble, the normalization of taking soft drinks every day, eating takeaway fast foods, or driving to work are habits that may lead to an obesity epidemic_ie if it is not a world epidemic already_if not controlled.
To mitigate the risk of an obesity epidemic, there is need for the world population to practice healthy living practices, creating public awareness on the disease, discouraging gluttony among children and encouraging healthy nutrition such as eating of whole grains, whole fruits, and vegetables which help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Obesity Rates By Country
Obesity prevalence varies between different countries, so for today, we shall look into the top and bottom 10 obesity-prone countries and their obesity rates.
Most obese countries in the world
- American Samoa 74.6%
- Tokelau 74.4%
- Nauru 61.0%
- Cook Islands 55.9%
- Palau 55.3%
- Marshall Islands 52.9%
- Tuvalu 51.6%
- Niue 50.0%
- Tonga 48.2%
- Samoa 47.3%
Least obese countries in the world
- Vietnam 2.1%
- Bangladesh 3.6%
- Cambodia 3.9%
- India 3.9%
- Nepal 4.1%
- Japan 4.3%
- Ethiopia 4.5%
- South Korea 4.7%
- Eritrea 5.0%
- Sri Lanka 5.2%
Obesity In USA
Obesity in the United States is a major health concern because of its widespread, cost and health effects resulting in numerous diseases and early mortality. According to a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics conducted between 2015-2016 in the USA, 39.8% of adults aged above 20 were obese_including 7.6% with severe obesity and another 31.8% being overweight. The main contributing factor to this is too little exercise since only 20% of jobs require physical activity thus the sedentary/inactive lifestyle. Due to its widespread, obesity has the potential to not only stop but also reduce the rise in life expectancy in the USA in the 20th and 21st centuries
Obesity Rates In USA
From research done by analysts in 2011, the obesity rate among adult Americans is estimated at 26.1%. In the most recent data findings on all states of America conducted in 2018, the states of Mississippi and West Virginia had the highest obesity rate at 39.5% thus were the fattest city in the USA. The state of Colorado had the least obesity rate at 23.0%, making it the thinnest state.
Obesity in Europe
Obesity cases in Europe is mainly as a result of these countries lifestyle changes, and high consumption of fast foods. However, the rate varies between different countries. According to WHO estimates, Turkey has the highest rate of obese people with women being more affected than men. Thus it’s the fattest European nation. The UK is the 3rd fattest European country with an obese rate of 27.7% while Switzerland has the lowest obese rate of 19.5%.
Obesity In Australia
Obesity in Australia is an epidemic. The Federal Government added obesity to its list of national health priorities in 2008. According to the National Health Survey of 2017-2018 on people in Australia, 67% of adults and 24.9 % of children were found to be either overweight or obese.
The Department of Health of Australia strives to educate the Australian population to help them make rational decisions on dealing with obesity.
Obesity In Africa
The increase in consumption of processed foods and sodas has skyrocketed the obesity rate in Africa, with South Africa having the highest rate. About 70% of the female adult population in South Africa are either overweight or obese. This high obesity rate has resulted in a huge economic strain of the African government(s). The South African government increased taxes on sugary products since it was among the main causes of overweight in the country.
Is Obesity A Disability?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is a physical or mental condition that significantly limits one or more of the major life activities of a person. Obesity rarely considered a disability, although severe obesity(class III) may be categorized as a disability since it hinders the patient from performing other human duties.
Obesity is, therefore, more of a disease than a disability.
Is Obesity A Choice?
Obesity is a result of high body weight compared to one’s height, which is one’s responsibility. For this reason, some researchers have had to state that obesity is more of a patient’s choice. However, medical practitioners have noted that obesity may be influenced by various reasons that are none of our faults. Weight gain can be a result of the side effects of some medication, abnormal hormone functions of the body, psychological disorder and childhood factors. These reasons are none of the patients’ fault, nevertheless, it should be noted that through exercise one can get rid of the excess body fat and this is only possible through discipline and commitment.
Is Obesity An Eating Disorder?
Eating disorder is a psychological/mental disorder that is distinguished by abnormal eating habits. Eating disorder can result in obesity because if it persists, it ends up affecting the individuals’ health negatively. Night eating syndrome is an example of an eating disorder where individuals often eat excessively at night after waking up from sleep. Night eating syndrome also causes obesity in some cases.
Obesity Vs Anorexia
Anorexia is an eating disorder that mainly develops in adolescents where individuals starve themselves on purpose to reduce their weight. People with anorexia tend to always monitor their body weight so as not to gain more weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is a health condition where individuals have a high body weight due to the accumulation of excess fat.
Obesity To Diabetes
Obese patients have high amounts of free fats and fatty acids which are involved in developing insulin resistance. The occurrence and development of diabetes is as a result of irreversible destruction of pancreatic secretory functional tissues. the insulin resistance and inflammation of the pancreas are what create room for diabetes 2.
Obesity And Breast Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, women who developed obesity as adults have a higher risk of contracting breast cancer. This is possible because they have higher insulin levels and more fat tissues which raise estrogen levels. Women who developed obesity at a young age are at a lower risk of getting breast cancer though they may still develop other types of cancer such as kidney and pancreatic cancer.
Obesity And Infertility
Obesity is one of the reasons for infertility among both men and women. Among women, the hormonal imbalance from obesity often leads to insulin resistance which creates abnormal menstrual cycles and even miscarriage. On the other hand, men who are obese tend to have low testosterone and experience occasional erectile dysfunction which lowers their fertility. However, through weight loss, women can develop a regular menstrual cycle while men can increase their sperm count thus improving either’s fertility.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome(OHS) is breathing disarray experienced by people who are obese resulting in low oxygen levels and high levels of carbon dioxide in your blood. It’s a form of sleep-disordered breathing. People with OHS disorder stop breathing occasionally at night resulting in obstructive sleep apnea.
Obesity Code Book
Dr. Jason Fung explains in detail the various causes of obesity and insights into proper nutrition in ‘The Obesity Code’ book. He also shares different methods of losing weight, such as exercising and fasting.
This is a scientific research and education group that strives and majors in the study, prevention and treatment of obesity.
Obesity Medicine Association(OMA)
OMA is a team of healthcare providers and analysts who treat people with obesity. They treat those affected through nutrition, physical activity, behavior therapy, medication(bariatric surgery) and/or a combination of all these. They are located in Denver, USA and provide for membership in most countries.
Obesity Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the No. 1 hospital in the USA ranked in twelve specialties according to the World Report. Mayo Clinic specializes in diabetes and endocrinology and is ranked first in this category. Therefore it goes without saying, to get quality and world-class treatment for obesity in the US, Mayo Clinic is the perfect place to visit.
Obesity Journals Impact Factor
Journals on obesity are open and free to the public and they provide detailed researched information on obesity, its causes, its effects, different remedies of mitigating the condition, and information on related topics of the subject. Obesity journals provide guidelines to healthy living to obese patients and the general public.
Documentaries on obesity
Different persons have developed audiovisual media to expound the world population’s knowledge of obesity, its causes and effects, mitigating measures and sharing stories of some of those affected by this disease.
Biological science portrays obesity as an epidemic in their YouTube documentary as it seeks to create awareness of the disease.
These documentaries are:
The Obesity Epidemic
Fast food, Fat profits Obesity in America