In general, overweight and obesity indicates a weight that is greater than is healthy. A certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other minor functions. So, what are the causes for obesity? Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity, according to Wikipedia
is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it is a negative effect on health.
Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other serious medical conditions.
The bottom line is, being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight.
The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Healthy dietary changes, increased physical activity, proper rest, and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss surgery are additional options for treating obesity, but really not necessary.
Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) 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 provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. For more information on BMI or to calculate your BMI, refer to this CDC article.
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 doctor if your BMI is a problem. You and your provider can evaluate your health risks and discuss your weight-loss options. The goal of treatment should be to achieve and maintain a “healthier weight,” not necessarily an ideal weight.
Obesity An Epidemic
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one in three Americans is obese. The prevalence of obesity in children has increased markedly. Obesity has also been increasing rapidly throughout the world, and the incidence of obesity nearly doubled from 1991 to 1998. Nearly 37% of adults in the U.S. were obese in 2013.
Causes of Obesity
Although there are genetic, behavioral and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.
Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. However, these disorders are rare and, in general, the principal causes of obesity are:
Lack of Physical Activity. Sedenentary people burn fewer calories than people who are active. If you’re not very active, you aren’t able to burn as many calories. With a sedenentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you use through exercise and normal daily activities, leading to being overweight and the risk of health issues and disease.
Unhealthy Diet and Poor Eating Habits. Weight gain is inevitable if you regularly eat more calories than you burn. Overeating leads to weight gain, especially if what you consume is high in fat. Foods high in fat and sugar, such as fast foods, fried foods, and sweets, are considered high energy-density fat foods. Simple carbs increase blood glucose levels, which in turn, stimulates insulin release.
Insulin promotes the growth of fat tissue, because the foods are more rapidly absorbed into the blood stream, causing more insulin to release, promoting more fat growth. And, most Americans’ diets are too high in calories and are full of fast food and high-calorie, sugury beverages. Here is what the National Institutes Of Health said in this study
For example, we could attempt to limit national production and import of sugar-sweetened beverages, tax sugar-sweetened beverages, or restrict fast food restaurant zoning.
Poor Sleep Habits. Not getting enough sleep, or getting too much sleep, can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite, according to the National Institutes Of Health review
Sleep deprivation has also been associated with higher risks of weight gain and obesity in recent years.
You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.
Genetics and Heridity. A person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affect hormones involved in fat regulation. For example, one genetic cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells and in the placenta. Leptin controls weight by signaling the brain to eat less when body fat stores are too high. If, for some reason, the body cannot produce enough leptin or leptin cannot signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost, and obesity occurs. The role of leptin replacement as a treatment for obesity is under exploration.
Prescriptions and Medications. Medications associated with weight gain include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, to control seizures, some dtabetes meds, certain hormone meds such as oral contraceptives, some hypertension meds, and antihistamines.
Psychological Reasons. For some people, emotions influence eating habits. Many people eat excessively in response to emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress, or anger. While most overweight people have no more psychological disturbances than normal weight people, about 30% of the people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating.
Binge eating, a behavior associated with both obesity and other conditions such as anorexia nervosa, is also a symptom of depression.
Quoted from the American Psychological Association article.
Social Issues. There is a link between social issues and environmental factors and obesity. Lack of money to purchase healthy foods or lack of safe places to walk or exercise can increase the risk of obesity. Similarly, you may not have been taught healthy ways of cooking, or you may not have money to buy healthier foods. In addition, the people you spend time with may influence your weight, you’re more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives.
Smoking Cessation. Quitting smoking is often associated with weight gain. And for some, it can lead to enough weight gain that the person becomes obese. In the long run, however, quitting smoking is still a greater benefit to your health than continuing to smoke.
Aging. Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity. In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. These changes also reduce calorie needs, and can make it harder to keep off excess weight. If you don’t consciously control what you eat and become more physically active as you age, you’ll likely gain weight.
Health Risks and Complications
Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration; it is harmful to one’s health as it is a risk factor for many conditions. In the United States, roughly 112,000 deaths per year are directly related to obesity, and most of these deaths are in patients with a BMI over 30. Patients with a BMI over 40 have a reduced life expectancy. Obesity also increases the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases and other complications, including the following:
Type 2 Diabetes. In a study 86% of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obest, because of the inability to properly use insulin and control blood sugar. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with the degree and duration of obesity.
Hypertension. Hypertension is common among obese adults, and in women, weight gain, tended to increase blood pressure more significantly than in men.
High Colesterol. Being overweight or obese tend to increase bad colesterol (LDL) and decrease good colesterol (HDL), or, high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Stroke. In obese people, sometimes blood clots form restricting oxygen-rich blood flow to a portion of the brain, damaging that portion of the brain making it unable to function.
Heart Disease. Obesity is linked to coronary heart disease risk factors of hypertension and high cholesterol levels. As stated in this NIH study,
Patients who are obese are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and therefore…..
One study found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease increased three to four times in women who had a BMI greater than 29.
Cancer. Obesity is a risk factor for Cancer of the colon in men and women, Cancer of the rectum and prostate in men, Cancer of the gall bladder, cervix, ovaries, and uterus in women. Fat tissue is important in the production of estrogen, and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen, increases the risk of breast cancer. Cancer can also develop in the esophagus, liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
Gallstones. Or gallbladder disease. Being overweight or obese makes it more likely to develop gallstones, especially in women, because of the higher level of unhealthy cholesterol in the bile.
Sleep Apnea. Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, is very serious. More than half of the people with sleep apnea are either overweight or obese, and it’s due to decreased levels of oxygen in the blood, and/or restrictions in the mouth and throat because of soft fatty tissue.
Gout. Obese individuals produce more insulin, inhibiting the elimination of uric acid from the kidneys, which leads to gout.
Metabolic Syndrone. It is a specific condition which occurs resulting in a combination of high blood sugar, hypertension, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol, as this National Institutes Of Health study states,
The lifestyle factors that increase intra-abdominal fat and metabolic risk factors are weight gain, a diet high in saturated fat, smoking, inactivity and excess alcohol intake. …
Osteoarthrites. Degenerative arthrites of the knees, hips, and the lower back.
Quality of Life. Other weight-related issues that may affect your quality of life include depression, disability, sexual problems, shame and guilt, social isolation, and lower work achievement.
Whether you’re at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight, or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems because you now know what are the causes for obesity. Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight: daily exercise, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and a long-term commitment to watch what you eat and drink by establishing good habits.
It is not necessary to achieve an “ideal weight” to derive health benefits from obesity treatment. Instead, the goal of treatment should be to reach and hold to a “healthier weight.” The emphasis of treatment should be to commit to the process of lifelong healthy living, including eating more wisely, increasing physical activity, and sleeping properly.
Moderate Regular Exercise.You need to get 150 minimum (30 minutes a day five days a week), to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week to prevent weight gain. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking and swimming. To get the full story on all the health benefits of a regular moderate exercise program, read this article, What Exercise Is About.”
Eat A Healthy Nutritious Diet. Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fresh, lean, organic, non-GMO, grass-fed beef or bison or wild game, and dairy products, free-range pork, lamb, and poultry such as chicken, turkey and duck, and eggs (cage-free), cold-water fish and seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, organic nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Avoid saturated fat, fast foods, fried foods, and limit sweets and alcohol.
Eat three regular meals a day with limited snacking. You can still enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as an infrequent treat. Just be sure to choose foods that promote a healthy weight and good health, most of the time. Identify and resist situations that trigger out-of-control eating or binging. Read these reviews, “You Can Be Healthy“, “Buy Fresh Seafood Online“, and “For the Most Healthy Foods“, for more information on low-calorie, nutrient-dense, organic, health foods, and where to purchase them.
Get Ample Restful Sleep. At least seven or eight hours a night of restful sleep is vital for your physical health, which promotes performance and productivity, strengthens your immune system, for maintaining a healthy weight, and, is essential for balancing your mental state, including mood, emotions, focus, and memory. For a full review on the health benefits of ample restful sleep, read this article, “So What Is Sleep About?“
Monitor Your Weight. People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off excess pounds. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become a bigger problem.
Be Consistent. Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays as much as possible, increases your chances of long-term success.
Supplement Your Diet With A Natural Adaptogen.
The natural, organic, nutritious, whole-food Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca helps to trigger weight loss by enhancing glucose metabolism and thus reduces fat accumulation in the body. The National Institutes Of Health study concluded
Thus, AEM (aqueous extract of black maca) has the potential to be a dietary supplement for preventing or at least slowing lipid and glucose metabolism disorder progression. However, more studies and clinical trials are needed to support this hypothesis.
Thus it appears to prevent obesity and risk of developing diabetes and other health issues. Study results have indicated a significant reduction in the levels of glucose in the blood and improved glucose tolerance. The activity of glutathione peroxidase was also found to be increased in the blood thus providing an antioxidant effect and protecting cells from oxidation damage.
P Maca consumption provides increased energy to do physical activities without experiencing fatigue. Thus, it helps in triggering exercise-induced weight loss in overweight and obest individuals.
The regulation of hormones by using P Maca has a direct positive effect in triggering weight loss in humans, according to the National Institutes Of Health study, which stated,
The results showed that in addition to reduction in body weight, blood …. stimulate endocrine system helping to maintain hormonal balance
According to another study conducted on postmenopausal women, it was found that P Maca helps to reduce body weight. The attribute goes to the regulation of certain hormones in the body, such as estrogen. Hormones Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) is found to significantly decrease upon regular P Maca use. Other hormones like progesterone, E2 and FSH are also reduced and help in maintaining proper weight.
Stress and anxiety related weight gain can be avoided by consumption of P Maca, due to its capacity to reduce psychological symptoms, by normalizing bodily functions and balancing stress hormones. For more in depth information on Peruvian Maca and where to purchase it, read these reviews:
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Now that you have learned what are the causes for obesity, do you have a better understanding why obesity in the US has grown to epidemic proportions? If you have questions, or comments, please address them below.