Obesity: A Disease
- Obesity is a serious, chronic disease and not a simple condition. Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass.
- Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage. A measurement used to assess health risks of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Click here to find out more about Body Mass Index BMI.
- Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death following smoking.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity could be a combination of the following:
- The genes you inherited from your parents.
- How well your body turns food into energy.
- Your eating and exercising habits.
- Medication you are taking (eg steroids or antidepressants).
- Your surroundings.
- Psychological factors.
Consequences of Obesity
If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have:
Major Health Risks
- Compared to people of normal weight, obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of dying prematurely.
- Obese people have more risk for:
- Diabetes (type 2).
- Shorter Life Expectancy.
- High blood pressure.
- Heart disease.
- Gallbladder problems.
- Certain types of cancer (breast, uterine, colon).
- Digestive disorders (e.g., gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD).
- Breathing difficulties (e.g., sleep apnea, asthma).
- Psychological problems such as depression.
- Problems with fertility and pregnancy.
- Urinary Incontinence.
- Joint problems (e.g., arthritis).
Risks to psychological and social well-being
- Negative self-image.
- Social isolation.
Difficulties with day-to-day living
- Normal tasks become harder when you are obese, as movement is more difficult.
- You tend to tire more quickly and you find yourself short of breath.
- Public transport seats, telephone booths, and cars may be too small for you.
- You may find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene.
Dieting, exercise, and medication have long been regarded as the conventional methods to achieve weight loss. Sometimes, these efforts are successful in the short term. However, for people who are morbidly obese, the results rarely last. For many, this can translate into what’s called the “yo-yo syndrome,” where patients continually gain and lose weight with the possibility of serious psychological and health consequences.
Recent research reveals that conventional methods of weight loss generally fail to produce permanent weight loss. Several studies have shown that patients on diets, exercise programs, or medication are able to lose approximately 10% of their body weight but tend to regain two-thirds of it within one year, and almost all of it within five years**. Another study found that less than 5% of patients in weight loss programs were able to maintain their reduced weight after five years*.