Human beings came in all shapes, colors, and sizes. It makes us unique in a world where people tend to obsess over their appearance at times. It is essential to understand that each person is different and beautiful in their own way. However, as with everything else in life, there is always a limit. This rings especially true when it comes to our weight.
Many people in the world suffer from weight problems, most of them falling into the overweight category. Obesity is mainly concerning due to the underlying health issues that often come with it, such as cardiovascular diseases.
What is Obesity?
A complex disease, obesity, refers to a person having an excessive amount of body fat. As mentioned above, this disease is not only a cosmetic concern. Obesity brings with it an array of underlying health concerns, such as:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Certain Cancers
Causes of Obesity and Risk Factors
Many circumstances lead to a person becoming obese. Factors such as genetics, metabolism, and hormones directly influence one’s weight. Obesity mainly occurs when a person’s calorie intake is larger than the amount burned by daily and physical activity. The body stores these excess calories as fat.
Below are the leading risk factors for obesity:
- Family Inheritance: Genes inherited from parents could affect the amount of fat a person’s body stores and distributes. Genetics may also play a part in one’s metabolism, responsible for many different weight maintenance processes. Besides genetics, families tend to engage in related eating patterns, ultimately leading to similar body weight.
- Lifestyle choices: Unhealthy diets, the excessive consumption of alcohol and sugary beverages, and the lack of physical activity are all contributing factors to obesity.
Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases
Although obesity can bring with it many complications, amongst the most common are cardiovascular diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four deaths each year in the United States is caused by heart disease. But how exactly does obesity influence cardiovascular diseases?
- Changes Cholesterol Levels: Not only does obesity spike unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but it also lowers beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- Causes Rising Blood Pressure: Individuals who suffer from obesity often need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to the body. This additional need causes an increase in blood pressure, which can be unfavorable to most people suffering from obesity.
- Risk of Diabetes: At least 68 percent of people aged 65 or older with diabetes also have heart disease. This information is directly associated with the fact that obesity can cause diabetes due to high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Obesity and COVID-19
Not only are obese individuals more prone to heart disease, but adults with excess weight are at greater risk during this pandemic.
- Obesity leads to weakened immune systems.
- Obesity decreases lung capacity, making ventilation more difficult.
- More than 900,000 adult COVID-19 hospitalizations occurred in the United States between the beginning of the pandemic and November 2020. Numbers estimate that 271,800 of these hospitalizations are attributed to obesity.
How To Prevent or Help Obesity
Regardless of whether a person is currently obese or at risk of becoming obese, they can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and any related health problems.
- Exercise regularly: A person requires 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain. Such activities include swimming, jogging, and fast walking.
- Changing Unhealthy Eating Habits: Low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods are the proper course of action while avoiding saturated fats, sugars, and alcohol. Eating three regular meals a day and avoiding snacking will help prevent obesity in the long run.
- Consistency: Staying consistent with the two steps mentioned above is perhaps the most important prevention method. Without consistency, there will not be any change.