Overweight and Obesity by Ash’Lea Brooks Brown

By at April 17, 2013 | 8:43 am | Print

Obesity and overweight are terms that are used when discussing ranges of weight that surpass what is considered a healthy weight for any given height. Obesity is an excess proportion of body fat overall. When the weight is 20% or more above normal, someone is considered to be obese. Obesity is commonly measured through a body mass index calculation. If the BMI is between 25 and 29.9 then this is considered overweight. If it is 30 or more then this is considered obese. Morbidly obese is when someone’s’ weight is anywhere from 50% to 100% over their normal body weight. In these ranges of weight, the higher the range, there is an increase in the possibility of certain diseases and a number of health problems.

Weight gain is something that doesn’t happen overnight but most of the time people know when they have started to gain weight. There are many signs and symptoms to being able to tell if there has been some weight gain. Some of the signs are clothes fitting or feeling tighter then they used to and then needing a bigger size. You can tell if the scale has shown that you have some weight gain. A simple way to tell is to look around the mid-section and see if there has been any excess fat developing there or a higher then usual body mass index.

There are many causes of being overweight and obesity. There are psychological factors such as depression, negative emotions, and boredom that can cause excessive eating and binge eating.  One could be a lack of balance in caloric intake and physical activity. A healthy body requires that there is balance between the two. It also has to do with other factors such as genes, metabolism, behaviors, environment, culture, and socio-economic status. When looking at the environment it may have to do with things like the ability to get places that you need to go and how. While some may only be able to drive everywhere that they go, others have the means to walk or to ride their bikes instead. Some just choose to take a healthier route and use physical exercise to get where they need to go. Environments that help promote healthy physical activity need to be promoted everywhere but sometimes that just isn’t possible.

Genetics also play a part in being overweight and obesity because there are certain diseases that can contribute to weight gain. Certain medications such as anti-depressants can cause weight gain. Genes don’t always predict whether there will be problems with weight but sometimes genes go hand in hand with outside factors such as food in-take, the types of foods that are being consumed and the amount of physical activities. When it comes to overweight and obesity there are many consequences including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, liver and gallbladder disease and respiratory problems. Obese people can often face discrimination in all types of social situations and can have feeling of rejection and shame.

As with many things, there are ways for preventing becoming overweight or obese. The first is to have a healthy eating plan and make the best and most healthy food choices. Keep the caloric needs in mind when making these choices and understand and focus on the fact that it is a balance act and the amount of caloric intake should match the energy that is going out unless you are trying to lose or gain weight then the scale is tipped. Pay attention to the amount of food that it being eaten. A lot of the time portions are big enough for more than one person especially at restaurants. Eat a reasonable portion and save the rest or share it with others.

A very important thing to do is to be active. Find activities that are enjoyable like walking, bike riding, or running and do this with friends or family. Limit the time that is spent in front of electronics like televisions or computers and do physical activity instead. Finally keep track of your weight and how much you have gained or loss. Also keep track of the waist circumference because this is the first sign that there is being weight gained. In the end obesity is all about balancing what is going in food wise and what is coming out energy wise.


CDC- Center for Disease Control and Prevention


National Heart Lung and Blood Institute




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