Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In this article we will explore what is obesity and what are the symptoms and causes.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a complex disease that occurs when an individual’s weight is higher than what is considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity affects children as well as adults. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines.
Causes of Obesity
The causes of obesity are multiple and complex due to the combination of causes and contributing factors. It is generally accepted that the cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended through exercise and activities of daily living, with the body storing the excess of calories as fat.
Risk factors of Obesity
Obesity is not simply the result of eating too much. Epidemiological studies have detected a series of factors associated with obesity in the population.
Age. As one ages, the hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle contribute to the appearance of obesity.
Female gender. Mainly associated with childbirth and the menopause. Obesity also occurs in women that have polycystic ovary syndrome, which is an endocrine condition that prevents correct ovulation.
Race. There is a high level of incidence obesity in people of African descent and those of Hispanic origin.
Unhealthy food. In the last 50 years, there is a universal trend to eat foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Too many calories are consumed, with abuse of fast food, as well as drinks with a high calorie content.
Sedentarism. There is a decrease in physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle, the automation of work activities, modern means of transportation and increased urban life.
Socio-cultural. Obesity has relationship with lower educational attainment and lower income levels linked to limited access to recreational facilities and lack of money to buy healthy foods.
Habits. A consumption of incorrect foods, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Genetic factors. Some genetic studies have determined that obesity can be hereditary, with genes that influence the amount of body fat and its distribution.
Certain medications. Some drugs can cause a gain in weight if they are not combined with diet or exercise. Among these drugs are some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, steroids, antipsychotics, drugs for diabetes, and beta-blockers.
Symptoms of Obesity
The most obvious symptom is the increase in weight, therefore the symptoms that may be presented arise from this increase in weight that, among others, may be:
Difficulty in sleeping. Sleep apnoea, daytime drowsiness.
Back and/or joint pains.
Intolerance to heat.
Infections in skin folds.
Feeling of shortness of breath (dyspnoea).
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Many factors can cause it and it has numerous symptoms. People must take measures, whether it be diet, exercise or medications, to treat the obesity.