By: Mike Malgieri

Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

What Is Obesity

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity is a serious problem in the USA and around the world.

What Causes Obesity

The balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure determines a person's weight. If a person eats more calories than he or she burns (metabolizes), the person gains weight (the body will store the excess energy as fat). If a person eats fewer calories than he or she metabolizes, he or she will lose weight. Therefore the most common causes of obesity are overeating and physical inactivity. Obesity can also be caused from:

  • Genetics

  • Overeating

  • A diet high in simple carbohydrates

  • Frequency of eating

  • Slow metabolism

  • Physical inactivity

  • Medications

  • Psychological factors

  • Diseases

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Who Gets Obesity

Anyone can become obese. Because obesity is having too much body fat, this means any can have a high calorie intake and a low calorie output. Studies say that you can inherit obesity from your genetic parents. After testing 100 sons and daughter with obese parents and 100 sons and daughters with non-obese they found that 71% of the kids with obese parents became obese and only 37% of the kids with non-obese parents became obese. Adults are at greater risk of becoming obese than children. About a third (26 to 41%) of people that were not obese as kids are obese as adults, and about half (42 to 63%) of people that were obese as kids are obese as adults. For all studies and across all ages, the risk of adult obesity was at least twice as high for obese children as for non-obese children. The risk of adult obesity was greater for children who were at higher levels of obesity and for children who were obese at older ages. A new study by the Lancet found there are 2.1 billion people in the world who are obese, with the U.S. topping the list with the most overweight citizens. Chew on this, America: A new study shows the U.S. tops the list of fattest countries.

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What Are Symptoms Of Obisity

Obesity is likely when an individual's body mass index is 30 or higher. Your body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. For most people, BMI is a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn't directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category even though they don't have excess body fat. Ask your health care provider if your BMI is a problem.

BMI = Weight status

Below 18.5 = Underweight

18.5-24.9 = Normal

25.0-29.9 = Overweight

30.0-34.9 = Obese (Class I)

35.0-39.9 = Obese (Class II)

40.0 and higher = Extreme obesity (Class III)

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How Can Obesity Be Diagnosed?

Obesity can be diagnosed by:

  • Follow a healthy eating plan. Make healthy food choices, keep your calorie intake and calorie put out even.

  • Focus on portion size. Watch the portion sizes in fast food and other restaurants. The portions served often are enough for two or three people. Children's portion sizes should be smaller than those for adults. Cutting back on portion size will help you balance energy IN and energy OUT.

  • Be active. Make personal and family time active. Find activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, go for a brisk walk, bike or rollerblade, or train together for a walk or run.

  • Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and videogames because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that's not work- or homework-related.

  • Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. Also, keep track of your children's growth.

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Can Obesity Be Fatal?

Obesity can be fatal because it can lead to other illnesses from chronic to acute, some very severe and deadly, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Vascular Disease, Heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.