What is Obesity and Overweight?
What is obesity and how does it compare to what is overweight for an individual? These two terms are used interchangeably at times, but they are different. Overweight people weigh more than is ideal or normal for their frame and gender and have greater body-fat percentages.
An individual is deemed obese if there is an excessive buildup of body fat that starts to affect their physical health by harming their internal organs, joints, muscles, and other areas of their body.
When a person is 100 pounds overweight or when major health issues like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. start to manifest, the phrase “class III obesity” is applied.
What is Obesity?
Over the past 20 years, the obesity rate in the United States has continuously increased. According to the CDC, class III obesity, formerly known as morbid obesity, has doubled while the obesity rate among adults has increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. Childhood obesity has significantly increased, and 20% or more of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are now categorized as obese.
Obesity is the second biggest cause of premature death that can be prevented. It is linked to depression, diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and more.
How is Obesity determined and what weight is considered Obese?
We cannot accurately define exactly what weight is considered obese because each person is built differently; therefore, what is obese on one person may not be considered obese on another. An individual who is 6’1″ and weighs 175 pounds is considered to be of a healthy weight, but someone who is 5’1″ and weighs 175 pounds is considered obese.
The majority of medical practitioners utilize the BMI scale, or body mass index, as a simple method to identify obesity. Despite the fact that it cannot accurately determine a person’s health or detect their body fat percentage, it can easily categorize them based on their weight and height. A number of these categories signal that a person’s weight may result in serious health problems.
The Standard BMI Scale
- Less than 18.5 is regarded as underweight.
- 18.5 to 24.9 is regarded as a healthy weight.
- 25 to 29.9 is regarded as overweight.
- 30 to 34.9 is regarded as class I obesity (formerly obese).
- 35 to 39.9 is regarded as class II obesity (formerly severe obesity).
- 40 to 49.9 is regarded as class III obesity (formerly morbid obesity).
The BMI scale is not perfect and does not account for variances like trying to separate muscle mass from fat mass when determining obesity. (According to the BMI calculator, the majority of NFL football players would be categorized as obese, although this is untrue.) It merely serves as a quick, simple, and affordable method of aiding in the categorization of people into weight classes, but it has limitations. You can check your BMI below and get a quick idea of where your current weight falls.
Adult Obesity Causes and Consequences
Obesity is a complex condition that is still not fully understood.
Individuals become obese when they retain more fat than they burn and the reasons why some people store or burn more fat than others under similar conditions can sometimes be easily explained or it can be more complicated.
Poor lifestyle choices such as overeating, consuming unhealthy meals, and a lack of exercise are a few of the most well-known factors that contribute to weight gain. However, there are other less evident underlying variables that might contribute to weight gain, such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, regional or economic impacts, cultural variations, environmental factors, drugs, stress, psychological disorders, metabolic abnormalities, etc.
Causes of Obesity
1. Behavior and Lifestyle Choices
Healthy eating habits and consistent exercise are examples of healthy practices. To keep from gaining too much weight, we need to keep a balance between the calories we eat and the calories our bodies need to function.
The expert-recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans place an emphasis on eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and drinking water as the foundation of a healthy dietary plan.
In addition to a healthy diet, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a mix of the two each week. They should also do two sessions of strength training.
2. Community and Environment
Individuals may base lifestyle decisions on their surroundings or neighborhood. For example, if there is a lack of sidewalks or safe bike paths, a person might decide not to cycle or walk to the store or to work. People’s daily behaviors are often influenced by their surroundings at work, home, daycare, school, and other places. Because of this, it’s critical to design environments in these places that make it simpler to engage in physical exercise and consume a nutritious diet.
Currently, it is understood that genetics can increase a person’s risk of developing obesity by up to 70%. There have been found to be More than one hundred genes and gene variations associated with obesity. The fact that inherited obesity risk does not necessarily translate into real obesity development, however, raises questions about the intricate relationships between genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to obesity.
4. Medical Conditions and Medications
Obesity in some individuals can be linked to a medical disease, such as Cushing syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, or another ailment. Reduced exercise might arise from medical issues like arthritis, which can also contribute to weight gain.
Weight gain may also be a side effect of various prescription drugs and medications, including steroids, some illegal substances, and antidepressants.
A doctor with expertise in managing obesity can help identify potential medical issues or health concerns you may be experiencing so they may determine whether certain habits, conditions, drugs, or psychological issues are causing you to gain weight or are inhibiting your weight loss efforts.
Consequences of Obesity
1. Health Consequences
Obese individuals are more at risk compared to those within a healthy weight range for numerous serious illnesses and health conditions, including the following:
- Heart Disease.
- Type II Diabetes.
- Gallbladder Issues.
- Body and Joint Pain.
- Chronic Sleep Apnea.
- Decreased Quality of Life.
- Osteoarthritis – Joint Degeneration.
- Approximately 13 Different Cancers.
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).
- High or Low Cholesterol or Triglycerides.
- Depression, Anxiety, and Other Psychological Disorders.
2. Economic Consequences
The U.S. healthcare system is significantly impacted financially by obesity and the health issues it causes. obesity-related medical expenses have a direct and indirect impact. Preventive, diagnostic, and interventional treatments for obesity may be included in direct medical costs. Mortality and morbidity expenses, such as lost productivity, are included in indirect costs.
Premature mortality and disability are productivity measurements, as well as “absenteeism” related to costs associated with employees missing work attributable to health issues created by their unhealthy weight as well as decreased productivity of at-work employees.
3. National Estimated Costs of Obesity
In 2019, the annual cost of medical care associated with obesity in the United States was close to $173 billion dollars. The annual productivity implications of weight-related absenteeism in the United States range from $3.38 to $6.38 billion dollars.
In addition to these expenses, there are ramifications that obesity has on recruiting within the military services. Utilizing the information gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results, a calculation was made to determine the proportion of the American population that is of military age and is overweight relative to the standards for active duty enlistment as set by the United States Army. In the years 2007-2008, the Army had enlistment limits for weight and body fat, and 5.7 million men and 16.5 million women who were otherwise eligible for military duty surpassed those standards.