RISK FACTORS FOR OBESITY

Obesity occurs when you eat and drink more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these extra calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
Genetics. Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise. Even when someone has a genetic predisposition, environmental factors ultimately make you gain more weight.
Inactivity. If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you burn off through exercise and normal daily activities.
Unhealthy diet and eating habits. Having a diet that’s high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, consuming high-calorie drinks and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.
Family lifestyle. Obesity tends to run in families. That’s not just because of genetics. Family members tend to have similar eating, lifestyle and activity habits. If one or both of your parents are obese, your risk of being obese is increased.
Quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is often associated with weight gain. And for some, it can lead to a weight gain of as much as several pounds a week for several months, which can result in obesity. In the long run, however, quitting smoking is still a greater benefit to your health than continuing to smoke.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy a woman’s weight necessarily increases.
Lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep at night can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite.
Certain medications. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.
Age. Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase your risk of obesity.
Social and economic issues. Certain social and economic issues may be linked to obesity. You may not have safe areas to exercise, you may not have been taught healthy ways of cooking, or you may not have money to buy healthier foods. In addition, the people you spend time with may influence your weight — you’re more likely to become obese if you have obese friends or relatives.






CAUSES OF OBESITY

Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:
-Inactivity. If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you use through exercise and normal daily activities.
-Unhealthy diet and eating habits. Having a diet that’s high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, eating most of your calories at night, drinking high-calorie beverages and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.
-Pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
-Lack of sleep. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.
-Certain medications. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.
-Medical problems. Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. Some medical problems, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain. A low metabolism is unlikely to cause obesity, as is having low thyroid function.






COMPLICATIONS OF OBESITY

Obesity occurs when you eat and drink more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these extra calories as fat.
If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
-High cholesterol and triglycerides
-Type 2 diabetes
-High blood pressure
-Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high cholesterol
-Heart disease
-Stroke
-Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum and prostate
-Sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
-Depression
-Gallbladder disease
-Gynecologic problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues, due to deposits of fat blocking or narrowing the arteries to the genitals
-Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
-Osteoarthritis
-Skin problems, such as poor wound healing.
When you’re obese, your overall quality of life may be lower, too. You may not be able to do things you’d normally enjoy as easily as you’d like. You may have trouble participating in family activities. You may avoid public places. You may even encounter discrimination.






UNDERSTANDING ADULT OBESITY

When we eat more calories than we burn, our bodies store this extra energy as fat. While a few extra pounds may not seem like a big deal, they can increase your chances of having high blood pressure and high blood sugar.These conditions may lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Today, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third of adults have obesity. This fact sheet will help you find out if you may be at risk of developing weight-related health problems. It will also explain how overweight and obesity are treated and give you ideas for improving your health at any weight.
How can I tell if I am at a normal weight?
Body mass index (BMI) is one way to tell whether you are at a normal weight, overweight, or obese. The BMI measures your weight in relation to your height.
The BMI table below will help you to find your BMI score. Find your height in inches in the left column labeled “Height.” Move across the row to your weight. The number at the top of the column is the BMI for that height and weight. Pounds are rounded off. You may also go to the Resources section at the end of this page for a link to an online tool for measuring BMI.
A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the normal range. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and someone with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.
However, because BMI doesn’t measure actual body fat, a person who is very muscular, like a bodybuilder, may have a high BMI without having a lot of body fat. Please review your findings with your health care provider if your BMI is outside of the normal range.






Is there an ‘Epidemic’ of Obesity and Diabetes?

According to the Center for Disease Control, we are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) says that, “Diabetes and obesity are the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century.” The supporting statistics they cite are staggering:
The obesity rate climbed from 1999 from 12 percent to almost 20 percent.
Last year the diabetes and obesity rates increased 6 percent and 57 percent.
Every three seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
Of the children born in 2000, one in three will eventually develop diabetes.
Although both diabetes and obesity risk factors are often associated with race, age, and family history, it’s becoming more and more clear that the conveniences of modern life also contribute to the development of both diseases. For example, sedentary lifestyles (reduced physical activity) and the popularity of high fat, high energy diets (think “Super Size Me”) and convenient foods are known to lead to obesity – but do they also cause diabetes?