What is Obesity?
Obesity is a growing epidemic that has far-reaching effects. It affects 236 different diseases, including thirteen cancers. Several factors contribute to this epidemic, including excessive weight, unhealthy diets, and prescription medicines. Therefore, understanding the effects of obesity on our health is critical for our future health.
Body mass index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI) is based on weight divided by a person’s height. However, this measurement has some limitations. It does not account for the distribution of body fat. For instance, excessive fat in the belly is associated with a higher risk of developing certain health conditions, while fat in the thighs is associated with a lower risk. It also does not consider family history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes or the average lifespan of people.
BMI is an indicator of obesity. It is a simple way to compare two people of the same height and weight. The higher the BMI, the higher the risk of obesity. Adults with a BMI greater than thirty are considered obese, while those between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered healthy.
Overweight and obesity are complex issues that affect everyone in different ways. Excess body fat contributes to chronic diseases and shortens lifespan. The causes of obesity are varied and often involve a combination of social, economic, and environmental factors. In addition to these factors, personal factors can also contribute to obesity and overweight.
Excess weight can lead to various adverse effects, including reduced fertility. For example, women with high BMIs are three times less likely to ovulate than those with lower BMIs. The amount and distribution of body fat can also affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. As a result, women with excess abdominal fat are also more likely to experience irregular menstrual cycles, resulting in decreased fertility.
However, there are no direct correlations between excess weight and certain disease conditions. For example, a high BMI and a high level of physical activity may not lead to arthritis. However, excess weight is associated with lower levels of ADL disability. While this association is weak, it is clear that excess weight and obesity are associated with reduced mobility and disability.
The growing prevalence of undernutrition and obesity is a global issue. The double burden of malnutrition is caused by an inadequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, as well as overweight and obesity. It has been estimated that at least 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight or underweight, and 38.9 percent of the world’s population is obese or overweight. This double burden is most severe in low and middle-income countries, where the rates of obesity and undernutrition are rising.
The food system is changing worldwide, making less nutritious food cheaper and more widely available. Technology has also reduced physical activity, and women’s roles outside the home have increased the demand for convenience and ready-to-eat foods. This new reality has prompted the need for “double-duty” interventions that address the causes of obesity and malnutrition. New policies and programs are needed to address the growing problems effectively.
There is a growing shortage of prescription medicines to combat obesity. Many have been pulled from the market due to safety concerns. These medicines have not met the safety standards required by the Food and Drug Administration, and many have had severe side effects. For example, Xenical has a long list of side effects and has been linked to bullous eruptions. Another medication, Belviq, is linked to hepatitis and urinary tract infection risk.
Many doctors prescribe combination medications to combat obesity. One such medication is Qsymia, which combines the anorectic drug phentermine with antiseizure topiramate. Topiramate enhances phentermine’s appetite-suppressing effects. However, patients should be aware of potential side effects, including insomnia and mood changes. Another medicine, Contrave, combines an antidepressant called bupropion with the appetite suppressant naltrexone. Some patients have experienced mild nausea and fatigue after starting these medications.
Obesity treatment involves behavioral change and lifestyle change. The main goal of this treatment is to help the patient maintain a healthy weight and reduce cardiovascular risks. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease and other diseases due to high cholesterol levels. The extra body weight also reduces breathing space and can cause kidney problems.
Several medications are available to help people lose weight. These medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, they are ineffective if used without healthy behavior change or physical activity. Obesity, Therefore, treatment should aim to achieve long-term weight loss and improved health.