What is Obesity?
Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. Obesity is a serious health epidemic in America. It targets one in four Americans. It is estimated that more than 90 million Americans are obese, a number
that is predicted to climb to 120 million in the next few years. But it is not only in
USA and Brazil, obesity is now a worldwide epidemic!
Obesity is most commonly calculated using Body Mass Index (BMI).
calculated by taking a person's weight in kilograms and divide it by his or her height in
meters square. An adult with a BMI of 30 or greater is clinically obese. If you
like to calculate your BMI, go to Calculate your BMI. For children
and Teens go to Children BMI Tables.
Characterized by excessive body fat, obesity is caused by genetic, behavior, industrialization and environmental
factors, difficult to control with any kind of dieting. How does industrialization affect us? Due to ready availability of (fast) food and the many different tools and home gadgets to help us with our daily chores, it has become much easier for us to obtain energy (by eating) and much harder to utilize energy (by working).
Obesity increases the likelihood of certain diseases and many other related
health problems. Two prime examples are heart disease and diabetes. See
Co-morbidities of Obesity for more information.
How to measure Obesity?
Waist Circumference is a less-common method used to measure obesity in an
individual. This simple indicator measures your waist circumference by wrapping
a tape measure around the area above your hip bone and below your rib cage. For
females, a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater is considered unhealthy.
For men, a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater is considered unhealthy.
Health Risks of Obesity
There are many medical conditions that are associated with obesity. Individuals who are obese are at
risk of developing one or more of these serious medical conditions, causing poor
health and/or early death.
The most common obesity-related diseases include:
Direct or Indirect Causes contributing to Obesity.
- Diabetes II
- Heart disease
- High Blood Pressure
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
There are many causes that directly and indirectly contribute to obesity.
Obesity is a result of energy imbalance over a long period of time. There are
several factors that cause an energy imbalance in obese individuals. Behavior,
environment and genetics are among the main contributors to obesity. The Centers
for Disease Control has identified these three as the main causes to the
complexity of the obesity epidemic.
In today's fast-paced environment, it is much easier to adopt unhealthy behaviors.
Behavior, in the case of obesity, relates to food choices now available and the amount of physical
activity and the effort to maintain health.
Americans and Europeans are consuming more calories on average than ever before. The
increase in caloric intake has decreased the nutrients consumed that are needed for a healthy diet.
While consuming more calories, they is also a decrease of physical activity. Physical activity is an important element in modifying and shaping behaviors. The influence of television, computers and other technologies reduces physical activity and add to the problem of obesity in the society.
Environment plays a key role in shaping an individual’s habits and lifestyle.
There are many environmental influences that can impact your health.
Today’s society has developed into a more easier lifestyle. Walking has been
replaced by driving cars, physical activity has been replaced by technology and
nutrition has been overcome by convenience foods.
Science shows that genetics play a role in obesity as well. Genes can cause certain
disorders which can result in obesity. However, not all individuals who are
predisposed to obesity become obese. Research is currently underway to determine
which genes contribute most to obesity.
Normal Treatment of Obesity
Obesity treatment strategies vary from person to person. Beginning treatment early is an essential part of success. It is important to talk with a physician before beginning any weight loss program. There are several common methods one should try first to treat obesity.
Behavior plays a large role in obesity. Modifying those
behaviors that may have contributed to developing obesity is one way to treat
the disease. A few suggested behavior modifiers include: changing eating habits,
increasing physical activity, becoming educated about the body and how to
nourish it appropriately, engaging in extra curricular
activity and setting realistic weight management goals.
It is important to make a solid commitment to make a change in behavior or
Increasing physical activity is an important aspect in
managing obesity. Today’s society has developed a very sedentary lifestyle and
increasing routine physical activity can greatly improve health. Consult with a
physician before initiating any exercise program. Set realistic goals and make
sure goals are measurable.
Non Clinical Weight Management Programs
Participating in non-clinical programs is another form of treatment for obesity.
Some programs may be commercially operated, such as many privately owned
weight-loss programs. Counselors, books, Web sites, forums or support groups are all ways
to get involved in a non-clinical weight-loss program.
Medically Managed Weight-Loss
Medically managed weight-loss programs provide treatment in a clinical setting
with a licensed healthcare professional, such as a medical doctor, nurse,
registered dietitian and/or psychologists. These programs typically offer
services such as nutrition education, physical activity and behavioral therapy.
Surgical Treatment of Obesity
Once a patient is considered morbidly obese there are
serious health risks. These co-morbidities also negatively impact the quality of
life for a patient (and their family members).
Because the health risks associated with morbid obesity are life-threatening,
clinical programs, such as medically managed weight-loss and gastrointestinal
surgery, are available for treatment.
If BMI is more than 35 and there is a weight-related condition (such as
diabetes or hypertension), gastrointestinal surgery (also called
bariatric surgery) may be considered. The laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure
is usually more successful than any other bariatric surgery. More information on
the different procedures can be found at Obesity
Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that is known to
reduce life span, increase disability and lead to many serious
illnesses. These illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease,
gallstones and stroke, are the co-morbidities of obesity.
Franco e Rizzi - Brazil
Plastic Surgery after Obesity Surgery
Although the mainstay in any weight loss program today is still the traditional route of diet and exercise, studies show that as many as 80%-95% of obese dieters regain any weight lost within two to five years of dieting
(often even sooner).
The market for surgery and medical devices to treat obesity will grow to $1 billion by 2011, double the 2006 amount.