Obesity

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Overview of Obesity

Accumulation of excess body fat up to the extent that it may become harmful is termed as obesity. A person is considered obese or overweight if his/her body mass index (BMI) is 30 kg/m2. BMI is measured by dividing person’s height with the square of his height; a BMI range of 25-30 is considered as overweight. Obesity is a considered as a risk factor for multitude of diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, cancers and osteoarthritis. It is preventable through changes in diet and healthy life style. Obesity is a major preventable cause of death throughout the world, with increasing rates in children and adults. It is more common in women than men.

Causes and Risk Factors of Obesity

Obesity is usually caused by a combination of intake of excessive food, lack of physical activity and genetic susceptibility. Consumption of energy-dense and fast food meals is associated with obesity. Lack of exercise and less physically demanding work make people prone to obesity. It is also associated with various syndromes such as Cohen syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and MOMO syndrome. In few cases, obesity is caused by endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, medications or mental illness. Other possible reasons may include insufficient sleep, increased use of medications (atypical antipsychotics), endocrine disruptors, assertive mating and epigenetic risk factors etc.

Signs and Symptoms of Obesity

Obesity is major cause of several disorders such as cardiovascular diseases (coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, abnormal cholesterol levels and hypertension etc.), diabetes mellitus type 2 (increase in body fat alter body’s response to insulin) and obstructive sleep apnea. It is also associated with neurological disorders (stroke, migraines and dementia), GI disorders (fatty liver disease and gallstones), various cancers and bone defects (gout, poor mobility, osteoarthritis and low back pain). Obesity is also linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual disorders, infertility, and complications during pregnancy, and intrauterine fatal death.