Cracking the Obesity Epidemic

Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is a very common condition with over 3,000,000 cases diagnosed in the US each year. Obesity is a condition involving a person carrying massive, excessive amounts of extra body fat that increases their chance of health problems. Obesity is usually self-treatable and able to be diagnosed without a doctor’s aid. Obesity can last years, or sometimes be a lifelong condition. Obesity is generally caused by a person consuming a large number of calories that they do not burn off. Obesity is generally treatable by a proper diet and exercise plan. In rare cases, obesity can come as a side-effect from certain medications like steroids needed for medical reasons.

Overweight is the category that comes before obese. A person who is overweight has at least 25% of their body weight accounted for in body fat. A person who is obese has at least 30% of their body weight accounted for in body fat. A “morbidly” obese person who is at the highest risk for health problems has at least 40% or more of their body weight accounted for in body fat.

However, BMI is not necessarily the best measurement to determine if someone is overweight or obese. BMI charts to not discern between body fat versus muscle or lean body mass. Calipers or BMI percentage machines are more reliable sources of determining who is obese by determining how much of one’s actual body mass is just fat versus muscle/lean body mass.

Some of the health problems that can stem from being overweight or obese include high blood pressure, rapid heart rates, diabetes, high cholesterol, and in more serious cases heart attacks or strokes. Obesity is the leading cause of adult mortality in the US. Children who grow up overweight or obese are more likely to continue that trend into adulthood and be overweight or obese adults.

Many people who suffer from being overweight or obese also have joint pain resulting from extra weight that the body has to carry around. This makes the body’s joints work harder, causing conditions like joint pain or arthritis or even osteoporosis from lack of proper nutrition, and overconsumption of junk food.

In rare cases, surgical procedures help people lose weight who cannot seem to shed the pounds through diet and exercise alone. Procedures like gastric bypasses or lap bands can help people lose this weight. However, the person must change their lifestyle after the procedure to keep the weight off, or the weight will come back on making the procedure pointless. These procedures are generally reserved for the most obese patients. Those people are defined as people with a BMI of 40% or higher, which is when doctors believe most people enter the “life-threatening” phase of obesity.

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