Obesity: How Much Should I Weight?

What are the Definitions of Obesity and Overweight?

Obesity is defined differently depending on where one reads. Overweight and obesity, in general, refer to a weight that is greater than what is considered healthy. Obesity is a chronic condition characterized by an abnormally high level of body fat. A certain amount of body fat requires various functions, including energy storage, heat insulation, shock absorption, and others.

The body mass index best defines obesity. A person’s body mass index determines by height and weight. The body mass index (BMI) calculates by multiplying a person’s weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in meters (m). Because BMI is a measure of body weight with height, there is a strong correlation between BMI and total body fat in adults. An adult with a BMI of 25-29.9 is overweight, while an adult with a BMI greater than 30 is obese. A person who has a BMI of 18.5-24.9 believe to be average weight. If a person’s BMI is greater than 40, morbidly obese (extreme obesity).

How Common is Obesity?

In the United States, obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Adults are overweight or obese in greater than two-thirds of cases, and one in every three Americans is obese. Obesity prevalence among children has increased significantly. Obesity has also been increasing rapidly throughout the world, nearly doubling in incidence between 1991 and 1998. In 2015, nearly 40% of adults in the United States were obese.

Most Common Causes of Obesity

A person’s weight determines by the balance of calorie intake and energy expenditure. When an individual consumes more calories than he or she burns (metabolizes), the individual gains weight (the body will store the excess energy as fat). When a person consumes fewer calories than he or she metabolizes, weight loss occurs. As a result, the most common causes of obesity are excessive eating and inactivity.

Inactivity on the physical level. Sedentary individuals burn fewer calories than active individuals. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), physical inactivity and weight gain are strongly correlated in both sexes.

Overeating. Consumption of excess calories results in weight gain, especially if the diet is high in fat. Foods high in fat or sugar have a high energy density (for example, fast food, fried food, and sweets) (foods that have many calories in a small amount of food). Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that high-fat diets promote weight gain.

Genetics. If one or both parents are obese, a child is more likely to develop obesity. Genetics also affects fat-regulating hormones. For instance, leptin deficiency is a genetic cause of obesity. Leptin is a hormone that synthesizes by fat cells and the placenta. Leptin regulates weight by signaling the brain to consume fewer calories when body fat stores are abnormally high. If the body cannot produce enough leptin or if leptin is unable to signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost, and obesity results. The role of leptin replacement therapy in the treatment of obesity is investigating.

Other Causes of Obesity

A high-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates’ role in weight gain is unknown. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels, which stimulate the pancreas to release insulin, promoting fat tissue growth and resulting in weight gain.  According to some scientists, simple carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, desserts, soft drinks, beer, and wine, among others) contribute to weight gain because they are absorbed more rapidly into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates (pasta, brown rice, grains, vegetables, and raw fruits, among others), resulting in a more pronounced insulin release following meals. According to some scientists, this increased insulin release contributes to weight gain.

Consumption frequency. The relationship between eating frequency (how frequently you consume food) and weight is somewhat contentious. There are numerous reports of obese individuals eating less often than people of average weight. Scientists have discovered that people who eat small meals four or five times a day have lower cholesterol and more stable blood sugar levels than those who eat less frequently (two or three large meals daily). One possible explanation is that frequent small meals maintain steady insulin levels, whereas large meals result in large insulin spikes following meals.

Other Causes of Obesity

Medications. Certain antidepressants (medications used to treat depression), anticonvulsants (medications used to control seizures, such as carbamazepine [Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Equetro, Carbatrol] and valproate [Depacon, Depakene]), and certain diabetes medications (medications used to control blood sugar, such as insulin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones Certain antihypertensive and antihistamine medications cause weight gain. The reason for weight gain with drugs varies according to the medicine. If this is a concern for you, you should speak with your physician about your medications rather than abruptly stopping them, as this could have serious consequences.

Factors psychological. Emotions affect some people’s eating habits. Numerous individuals overeat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress, or anger. While most overweight people experience no more psychological distress than people of average weight, approximately 30% of people seeking treatment for serious weight problems struggle with binge eating.

Social issues. Obesity and social issues are inextricably link. Inadequate funds to purchase healthy foods or a lack of safe places to walk or exercise can all contribute to an individual’s risk of obesity.

What is the best way to combat obesity?

Obesity frequently results in a strenuous diet in the hope of achieving the “ideal body weight.” While some weight loss may be achieved, the lost weight is usually quickly regained. The majority of people who lose weight quickly regain it within five years.

We need to learn more about the causes of obesity and then modify our treatment approaches. Obesity treatment cannot be a one-time “fix,” but must be a life-long process.

Obesity treatment must recognize that even a tiny amount of weight loss can be beneficial. For instance, a modest weight loss of 5% – 10% of one’s initial weight, combined with long-term maintenance of that weight loss, can result in significant health benefits, including lowered blood pressure; decreased cholesterol levels in the blood; reduced risk of developing type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes (In the Nurses Health Study, women who lost 5 kilograms [11 pounds] of weight reduced their risk of diabetes by 50 percent or more.)

It is unnecessary to achieve an “ideal weight” to benefit from obesity treatment’s health benefits. Rather than that, the treatment goal should be to achieve and maintain a “healthier weight.” The focus of treatment should be on committing to a lifetime of healthy living, including eating more healthfully and increasing physical activity.

In summary, the goal of obesity treatment is to attain and maintain a “healthier weight.”

Leave a Reply