The current statistics by the health authorities are shocking. It is sad to learn that there is a sharp rise in the cases of obesity among the American public. It is more shocking to see that there is an increase in obesity among young adults. These are our future leaders and it is a looming danger to the productivity of our nation. One in every three Americans is obese.
How do we define obesity?
In simple terms, obesity is a serious condition in which an individual’s body weight goes way above the ideal or expected body-weight. Medically, they use the body-mass index or BMI which is a relationship between the height in inches and the weight in pounds of an individual. A BMI greater than 30 is considered obese whereas the normal BMI is between 20 and 25. A BMI greater than 25 but less than 30 is considered over-weight. There are various websites which can help you determine your BMI. There are many more sites on Google and other search engines.
What causes obesity?
There are various causes of obesity which include but not limited to genetics, diet, life-style, sex, drugs and age.
Presence of certain genes in some families predisposes the members to obesity. Some individuals are highly susceptible to obesity because of their family inheritance. It is for this reason that we sometimes see a family of obese members.
On the other hand,diet is a key environmental factor contributing to development of obesity. Many Americans are no longer cooking in their homes, instead, they have fallen prey to fast-food chains and restaurants. Most of the recipes found in these food places are not healthy. They, quite often, compromise on quality but satisfy quantity and affordability.
Life-style is another key factor in the growth of the many cases of obesity. The change of life among most Americans is headed for the worst. Most people no longer have enough exercises.Exercise is a key component in managing obesity. Today, lack of exercise as seen in the more common sedentary life-style is detrimental to health.
There is a sex -related element in obesity. More women tend to become obese due to the hormonal changes they go through their life. Puberty in women, pregnancy and menopause are some but a few of the hormonal changes that women go through. On the other hand, more men are now becoming obese as early as in their teenage years.
Drugs are contributing to increase in obesity as well. As we make medical advances, the increased use of drugs to manage certain disease conditions has led to an increase in obesity. Certain drugs for certain conditions such as diabetes, depression, psychosis and hormonal replacements have been known to lead to weight gain and eventually to obesity.
Finally, age is an important factor to be considered. We now see obesity throughout the age spectrum. However, obesity is more common in adults than in children. It is now shocking to learn that there is a tremendous increase in teenage obesity. This is a worrying fact which needs immediate reversal.
Obesity is dangerous. This is because it increases the risk of dying from heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, depression and many more conditions. Obesity is also a social problem. As obesity progresses the individual becomes detached from his daily activities and starts to depend on either family or welfare services for support. This is both a social and economic burden. Many millions can be saved if we fight obesity.
As an overview of the facts about the causes of obesity, the factors may work in a relationship or singly to lead to obesity. In order for, a diet program to succeed in controlling obesity and promoting weight-loss, it must address all these causative factors. The program must address the genetic input and address diet issues too. Life-style changes must be promoted and implemented. The sex element should be addressed as well. Finally, the age of the individual must be considered in the program. With all these factors addressed individually or severally, the diet program is bound to succeed with flying colours.