Due to its prevalence, obesity is considered an epidemic in the United States and many other countries around the world. As the primary requirement for bariatric surgery eligibility, obesity afflicts many of our patients, as well as more than 35 percent of the U.S. population. But what is obesity, and what does it mean for you and your health?
What Is Obesity?
Simply put, obesity is the existence of excess adipose tissue or, more colloquially, extra fat within the body.
As there’s no way to examine the body and calculate the exact amount of adipose tissue any one person has, doctors rely on a few different measures to diagnose obesity. The most popular is Body Mass Index, or BMI, a calculation that incorporates height and weight to approximate body fat. In general, a BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
Some doctors also test for body fat percentage using bodily measurements or use hormone tests to evaluate the presence of secretions triggered by excess adipose tissue within the body.
Causes of Obesity
The drivers behind obesity are complex and can vary from person to person. In some cases, obesity is at least partially genetic, with individuals inheriting diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome that are frequently linked to obesity. Metabolism and other influential factors can also be genetic.
Obesity may also be behavioral. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to develop unhealthy behaviors like working too long, sleeping too little, and relying on fast food for quick meals. Americans eat more calories today than ever before, and they’re not exercising at adequate levels to offset increased intake. Too much unhealthy food and too little exercise can lead to rapid weight gain and, eventually, obesity.
Risks Associated with Obesity
Obesity can be uncomfortable, but it also poses critical health risks. The body is not designed to sustain excess adipose tissue for long periods of time, and the buildup of significant fat can cause issues ranging from cardiovascular disease to joint pain. The most common concerns associated with obesity include:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Respiratory problems
- Some breast and ovarian cancers
Obesity can also affect overall lifestyle as well. Those who are obese may struggle to exercise and lose weight normally, leading to increased weight with no way to effectively burn calories. The process of overeating can also stretch the stomach and affect hormone levels within the body, leading to continued overeating in those used to large, high-calorie meals.
If you are obese, seeking help is very important. As the cause of an estimated 300,000 deaths per year, obesity can trigger fatal diseases that may be untreatable.
The Wellborn Clinic is a leading resource for those suffering from obesity and associated diseases, providing a customized approach to safe, healthy weight loss. Learn more about our weight loss procedures by attending one of our educational seminars or viewing our online seminar. With access to comprehensive surgical and medical weight loss resources, we can help you find the right treatment for you. Contact Nikki at 501-663-9600, ext. 110 or email Nikki at email@example.com to learn more!