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04
Feb

2021

Is Obesity a Disease or a Choice

What is Obesity?

Obesity is accumulated excessive fat that can be harmful to health and is not always a choice. Usually, people blame poor dietary preferences and quiescence for obesity or being overweight. However, it is not always true. It is one of those diseases that have a negative influence on social and interpersonal relationships.

By definition, it is a complex state of a body that shows an accumulation of excessive amounts of fat which is termed obesity. It is not merely a concern because of cosmetic reasons, but it is a medical problem that is sometimes beyond one’s control and needs prompt attention. 

The reason why immediate obesity treatments are important is that obesity increases the risk of developing other diseases, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and even some types of cancers. 

In general, causes of obesity depend on various aspects such as a combination of inherited factors with the personal diet, environment, or type of routine activities. 

Different Types of Obesity 

The researchers suggest that instead of putting all obese people into a single category, it is better to categorise them into subgroups of obesity causes. This technique helps in tailoring treatments or interventions more effectively. 

There are six clusters of obese, which are:

  • Young unhealthy females: Obese women generally have rarer obesity-related complications, like type 2 diabetes.
  • Heavy-drinking men: Obese men who intake high amounts of alcohol and have type 2 diabetes.
  • Unhappy or troubled middle-aged: Middle-aged people, especially females who are suffering from mental health issues.
  • Affluent and unhealthy elderly: Usually, people with positive mental health, but who consume a high amount of alcohol or have high blood pressure problems.
  • Physically unhealthy but delighted elderly: Aged people who have good mental health but have chronic ailments, like osteoarthritis.
  • Underprivileged health: Economically deprived people who have the greatest number of chronic diseases.

How to Diagnose Obesity?

Sometimes, opting for obesity care can be a beneficial step to avoid any kind of severe health issues or obesity effects. It is essential to diagnose obesity and obesity causes. Doctors suggest certain types of tests or screenings. The given below are accurate measures to calculate body fat and its distribution:

  • Waist-to-hip comparisons
  • Skinfold thickness tests
  • The deposition of fat around the waist also indicates the risk of obesity-related diseases.

Doctor Recommended Health Tests 

The below-mentioned are some of the tests recommended by doctors that help in diagnosing health risks that can be a result of long-term obesity:

  • Examine glucose levels and cholesterol through blood tests 
  • Testing of liver function
  • Screening for a diabetes
  • Thyroid tests 
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check the coronary heart disease
  • Screening tests, for example, MRI, ultrasounds, and CT scans.

To calculate an individual’s body fat, the ratio of the body’s length to its weight is measured, and that ratio is known as body mass index (BMI). The risk of health issues due to obesity begins with having a BMI of 25.0. The following ranges of BMI will give an idea of risk levels:

BMI (25.0 - 29.9): Overweight (not obese)

BMI (30.0 - 34.9): Class 1 (low-risk) obesity

BMI (35.0 - 39.9): Class 2 (moderate-risk) obesity

BMI (40.0 - higher): Class 3 (high-risk) obesity

As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an adult, who has a BMI of 30 or more, falls under the category of obese, although some researchers and doctors have come up with a theory that considering BMI alone is not a sufficient method to calculate obesity. According to them, a better technique is to consider the physical, mental, and functional health of an individual. 

 

Reasons for Obesity

 

There are various reasons behind obesity; The primary reason is when the calorie intake is more than its burning activities, like exercise, for the long term. With time, the unburned calories lead to the accumulation of fat, and as a result, weight gain.

 

Common uncontrollable obesity causes are:

  • Genetics is one of the most common obesity causes which can affect the processing of food into energy in a body and how the storage of fat takes place.
  • Ageing is responsible for less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easy to gain weight.
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to changes in hormones that further make an individual feel hungrier, and the person starts craving certain high-calorie foods.
  • During pregnancy, weight gain is apparent, and not losing that will eventually lead to obesity.

The below-mentioned are certain health conditions that lead to weight gain, and further result in taking some obesity treatments:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): It is a condition that usually creates an imbalance in the reproductive hormones of females.
  • Prader-Willi syndrome: It is a specific condition that happens at birth that causes extreme hunger.
  • Cushing syndrome: The condition that happens due to high cortisol levels or the stress hormone in the body system.
  • Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid: When the thyroid gland does not produce plenty of significant hormones, it results in extreme hunger, leading to obesity.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA): Conditions like osteoarthritis can cause pain that may further reduce physical activities.

Who is at Risk of Developing Obesity?

The risk of obesity depends on a combination of aspects. If you find relativity with the following aspects, you need to take care of yourself:

  • The genes of some people make it too hard for them to lose weight.
  • The surrounding, be it school or community, can influence how and what an individual eats, for example, people living in an area where they get a few healthy food options or more high-calorie food options, such as fast-food shops.
  • Do not know how to cook healthy meals.
  • There is a need for a huge budget to afford healthier food.
  • Not having an appropriate place to walk, exercise, or even play.
  • Psychological factors, such as depression usually lead to weight gain, and sometimes, people start loving food to give themselves emotional comfort. Some antidepressants can also be responsible for the increase in the risk of weight gain.
  • It is always recommended to quit smoking, but it may also increase body weight. In some cases, people can gain excessive weight. When you quit smoking, it is essential to keep a tab on diet and exercise, and it is necessary to follow that at least in the initial smoke-quitting period.
  • Some medications, such as birth control pills or steroids, can increase the risk of weight gain.

When discussing obesity, numerous aspects such as medical disorders, genetics, hormones, and childhood habits, are at play. Most of them are beyond an individual's control. Being obese or overweight may not be an intention and shedding extra weight may be challenging; nonetheless, there are many ways to lose weight if an individual chooses to do so.

Manish Ranjan

CEO