Those who are overweight or obese, as opposed to those who are at a healthy weight, are more likely to develop a variety of significant illnesses and medical disorders. These consist of:
- All causes of death (mortality).
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia).
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Coronary heart disease.
- Gallbladder disease.
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems.
- Many types of cancer.
- Low quality of life.
- Mental illnesses such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
Having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered to be obese.
In the United States, obesity and overweight are prevalent conditions that are characterized by an increase in the size and number of fat cells in the body. Numerous variables, such as habits including eating habits, insufficient sleep or physical exercise, some medications, genetics, and family history all contribute to being overweight or obese. Obesity is a chronic health condition that increases the risk of heart disease, the top killer in the US, and is connected to several other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.
In the United States, over 3 out of 4 persons who are 20 or older are either overweight or obese. Obesity affects almost 1 in 5 kids and teens between the ages of 2 and 19. For people of all ages, being overweight or obese can result in major health problems. Body mass index (BMI) is used by healthcare professionals to check for overweight and obesity in individuals. Body mass index (BMI), a measurement of body fat based on height and weight, is calculated as follows: body mass (in kilograms) divided by square of body height (in meters), expressed in kilograms per square meter (kg/m2). If your BMI indicates that your weight is over the average for your height, your doctor may discuss overweight and obesity with you. But obesity is a more complex issue than BMI.
Your risk of being overweight and obese can be increased by unhealthy lifestyle choices like not getting enough exercise and consuming foods and drinks that are high in calories but poor in nutrients. When taking medication for a different medical problem, such as diabetes, depression, or high blood pressure, some patients discover that their weight increases. Before you think about stopping any medication you are taking for a different ailment that you think is also affecting your weight, talk to your doctor. Following a heart-healthy diet lower in calories and dangerous saturated fats and boosting physical exercise are two lifestyle adjustments that can help people lose weight. Additionally, medications and other weight-loss procedures have received FDA approval. A therapy option that is not always available is surgery.
What factors contribute to a healthy or unhealthy weight?
Many factors can contribute to a person’s weight. These include your:
- Behavior or lifestyle habits, such as lack of physical activity, sedentary behaviors, a poor diet, and poor sleep habits
- Environment, such as where you live and the lifestyle habits within your family
- Economic factors that can influence the foods that you can afford and other lifestyle habits
- Family history and genetic
- Metabolism (the way your body converts food into energy)
Additionally, those who live in underdeveloped regions, experience food insecurity, or deal with other similar problems are more likely to become obese. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can worsen the risk of obesity in persons who already have a genetic predisposition to it, according to research supported by the NHLBI. Some of these elements, such as the genes your parents gave you that affect your height, cannot be changed. But you can swap out bad habits for good ones.
What causes overweight and obesity?
When you consume more calories than you burn over time, you may become overweight or obese. When your energy in (calories) does not equal your energy out, this is often referred to as an energy imbalance (calories your body uses for things such as breathing, digesting food, and being physically active). Your body creates and stores energy using certain nutrients from the meals you eat, such as proteins, lipids, carbs, or sugars.
- Food is turned into energy for immediate use to power routine daily body functions and physical activity.
- Food is stored as energy for future use by your body. Sugars are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Fats are stored mainly as triglycerides in fatty tissue.
Your body stores are more fat than it can need now or in the future as a result of an energy imbalance. But more than just how much you eat affects your risk of being overweight or obese. It also includes your daily food and drink intake, your level of physical activity (such as how much time you spend sitting at a desk or moving around during the day), and how much sound sleep you get. A lot of things, including all of these, can cause you to gain weight.
What raises the risk of overweight and obesity?
Being overweight and obese have a lot of risk factors. Some are personal variables, such as actions, talents, and knowledge. There are people around you, including in your neighborhood, business, and school. Your risk may also be impacted by the techniques and marketing used in the food sector as well as by societal and cultural norms and values. Some of your risk factors for being overweight or obese may not be changeable. However, being aware of your risk can help you take action to reach a healthy weight and reduce your risk of obesity-related health issues like heart disease.
Lack of physical activity
A high body mass index has been linked to a lack of exercise and excessive TV, computer, video game, or other screen time (BMI). The majority of adults require 150 minutes or more of aerobic exercise every week. Adults are also advised to engage in two or more days per week of muscle-strengthening exercises for the large muscle groups, as these exercises have additional health advantages. Every day, children should engage in 60 minutes of aerobic exercise. Check out the suggestions for physical activities for various age groups.
Unhealthy eating behaviors
Some unhealthy eating behaviors can increase your risk for overweight and obesity.
- Eating more calories than you use: The number of calories you need will vary based on your sex, age, and physical activity level. Find daily calorie needs or goals for adults as part of the DASH Eating Plan.
- Eating too much-saturated fat: According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal, the amount of saturated fat in your daily diet should be no more than 10% of your total calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s about 200 calories or about 22 grams of saturated fat.
- Eating foods high in added sugar: Daily, try to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet to no more than 10% of your calories.
Not getting enough good-quality sleep
According to research, having a high BMI is associated with having poor sleep—either not receiving enough sleep or experiencing low-quality sleep. Hormones that regulate hunger urges can be impacted by sleeping less than 7 hours per night regularly. In other words, sleeping poorly increases our risk of overeating or failing to notice when we are full from our bodies. For further details on the negative impacts of sleep deprivation on health, visit Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.
High amounts of stress
Even brief periods of stress can have an impact on the brain and cause your body to produce hormones like cortisol, which regulate hunger pangs and energy levels. You may consume more and store more fat as a result of these hormonal changes.
Weight gain is a side effect of some medical diseases, including metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome. For a person's weight to get near to or into the normal range, certain medical issues must be treated.
Some folks tend to be heavier. At least 15 genes have been identified as having an impact on obesity. According to studies, genetics may be more of a factor for obese persons than for overweight ones. Making healthy lifestyle adjustments can help reduce the risk of obesity in persons who are genetically predisposed to it.
Some medicines cause weight gain by disrupting the chemical signals that tell your brain you are hungry. These include:
- Beta-blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure
- Birth control
- Glucocorticoids, which are often used to treat autoimmune disease
- Insulin, is a hormone taken to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
Talk to your provider if you notice weight gain while you are using one of these medicines. Ask whether there are other forms of the same medicine or other medicines that can treat your medical condition but have less of an effect on your weight.
A lack of exercise and bad eating might be influenced by your environment. Your physical surroundings include your home, any structures you use for work or recreation, as well as any open areas and streets. Being overweight and obese can be influenced by the types of restaurants you have and how much green space you have. According to studies, having access to sidewalks and green areas can encourage people to engage in greater physical activity, while grocers and farmers' markets can encourage them to eat healthier foods. On the other hand, residents of areas with a higher density of fast food outlets, inaccessible or nonexistent walkways, and a lack of bathing facilities are more likely to be overweight or obese.