Tag: over-weight

What you should know about Obesity

What you should know about Obesity

What you should know about Obesity
What you should know about Obesity

Obesity is determined by measurement of body fat, not merely body weight. People might be over the weight limit for normal standards, but if they are very muscular with low body fat, they are not obese. Others might be normal or underweight, but still have excessive body fat.

Different measurements and factors are used to determine whether or not a person is overweight to the degree that it threatens health: Body mass index (BMI) (a measure of body fat), Waist circumference., Waist-hip ratio, Anthropometry, The presence or absence of other disease risk factors (e.g:  smoking, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, relatives with heart disease) in addition to obesity. (Such risk factors plus BMI may be the most important components in determining health risks with weight.) .The earliest contributory factor, i.e. parenteral nutrition may activate a genetic tendency towards overweight. A pattern of obesity can be established in infancy.

A number of dietary habits put people at risk for becoming overweight:

  • Night-Eating: Consuming between 25% and 50% of daily calories between the evening meal and the next morning is referred to as night-eating syndrome and is associated with obesity.
  • Binge Eating and Eating Disorders: About 30% of people who are obese are binge-eaters who consume more in one sitting. Many experts believe that binge-eating carbohydrates causes an increase in a natural opiate leading to dependence on carbohydrates, and, therefore, the condition should be treated as an addiction. Dangerous consequences of binge eating are its antitheses, the eating disorders bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is binge-eating followed by purging in order to lose weight. Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness in which the person refuses to maintain weight at the normal level because of a terrible fear of getting fat and an abnormal perception of what his or her body looks like. Both conditions pose risks for serious medical problems, and anorexia nervosa can be life threatening.
  • Restrained Eating: Some people, mostly middle-aged women who have normal weight, have a pattern referred to as restrained eating. This pattern requires a high level of conscious control and usually maintains a lower weight. However, such restrain places these individuals at higher risk for loss of control and subsequent overeating.
  • Infrequent Eating: There is some evidence to suggest that eating small frequent meals uses more calories than infrequent large meals.
  • Habitual overeating may come solely from environment. Purposeful overeating also occurs through ignorance. It is essentially of environmental nature than of hereditary origin. What happens to be a genetically induced condition is more often merely a passing on to food habits from one generation to next. Children tend to imitate their overeating parents; thereby familial trend of overweight is seen. Excessive calorie consumption whether in children or adult leads to fatness.
  • Psychological problems also do affect a person and food act as a sedative to give temporary solace and in psychosomatic group are people who lack any other interest in life. They live only to eat and derive no reward from love, family, art etc. For these people food restrictions would be cruel and useless.
  • Reactive obesity has its roots in some upsetting experience, such as home sickness, illness or death of a dear person.  

Specific Groups at Risk
Ex-Smokers: The trend toward weight increase has followed the trend for quitting smoking. Nicotine increases the metabolic rate, and quitting, even without eating more, can cause a weight gain, which may be considerable. It is important to note that weight control is not a valid reason to smoke. People in previous centuries did not smoke cigarettes, nor were they usually obese.

Shift-Workers: A recent study found that individuals who work late shifts (between 4PM and 8AM) tend to eat more and take longer naps than day workers and are more likely to gain excess weight.
In Obese adults following calories restrictions can only reduce the size of fat cells but not influence their number which remains fairly constant. In very obese person, chiefly the number and the size of adipose cells are greater. This decrease in cell size is not permanent, and it is rapidly restored when restrictions are stopped. As a result the individual may be morphologically more abnormal after weight loss than before. Prevention is always better early in life, through control of the factors which leads to obesity will be the only effective treatment.