Our Review Process
Our articles undergo extensive medical review by board-certified practitioners to confirm that all factual inferences with respect to medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, and protocols are legitimate, canonical, and adhere to current guidelines and the latest discoveries. Read more.
Our Editorial Team
Shifa Fatima, MSc.
Dr. Apoorva T, MHM.
Is Obesity Bad for me?
It is quite unfortunate that people think that being obese just makes them look ugly. It is high time that we understand it isn’t a cosmetic issue rather a state that might increase your vulnerability to various chronic illnesses. Act on it right away!
Table of Contents
How does Obesity build-up?
When people start eating a lot of calories, without the body being able to burn, it starts getting stored or accumulated in your body as fat. A little fat accumulation won’t cause any harm. But when excessive eating, without burning what you eat, leads to fat accumulation that may pose health risks. When a doctor calls you ‘obese’ what he actually means is: you have a high risk of developing weight-related health illnesses. Also know about yoga for diabetes
Why Do I Gain Weight So Easily?
While the general nature of risk factors such as environmental degradation, lack of exercise, and consumption of fast food is well known. There is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. For example, many obese people are at risk due to genes inherited from their parents. The genes determine how much fat your body takes in, and how efficiently it converts it into energy. Moreover, it also determines how much one’s body burns and supports healthy habits like exercise. Being aware of these factors in a rising pandemic of obesity is important. Hence, just because your friend is consuming X amount of calories with fast food every day, it should not determine your behaviour towards it. This is one of the primary reasons why you may witness obesity rampant among some families, while some individuals may seem extremely resistant to it despite seeming unhealthy choices. Apart from genetics, being aware of routine food choices and exercise is also a wise investment. Family members often revolve their behaviour around common knowledge amongst them, and their set behaviour patterns.
2. Medical Conditions
One of the myths associated with obesity is that it is a result of lack of exercise and often bad choices. However, this is not always the case. Obesity can be traced back to many established medical conditions, including Cushing syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, among others. Moreover, conditions like arthritis and subsequent loss of exercise can also lead to major weight gain. Additionally, some medications can also result in side-effects, such as weight gain. There are many such medications routinely prescribed to individuals, including anti-seizure medication, antidepressants, steroids, and antipsychotic medications. There are beta-blockers which can result in weight gain as a side-effect.
3. Economic Conditions
As mentioned earlier, obesity is largely preventable. However, there are also conditions often beyond the circumstances of individuals. For example, many people in poverty often do not have access to healthy food, and regular quantities of it. Moreover, due to economic conditions, these individuals may not also follow a rigorous exercise and advocate their children to do so. Moreover, poor people also tend to have relatively less awareness of healthy eating habits, and their possible side-effects, thanks to limited access to healthcare professionals. Hence, it is important to spread awareness about the benefits of healthy eating and provide more support to poor individuals with more social and economic means.
What are the Leading Causes for being Overweight?
Obesity has become one of the biggest health issues since it pilots you to other overweight problems as well. Some people think that obesity results from being negligent. But this not true entirely. Generally eating behaviour and lifestyle might turn you overweight. Considering overeating as a cause, in the upcoming points we will discuss being overweight causes apart from that:
- Genetics play an important role in increasing your vulnerability to obesity.
- Eating a lot of junk food can make you overweight. Junk food is cheap, have a longer shelf life and unfortunately is very tempting. Since these are highly engineered, so are highly harmful too!
- Some people develop food addiction which eventually leads to obesity and its causes. You should eat just to live and not live to just eat!
- Junk food companies create advertisements targeting children audiences. These kids become addicts in their early ages and it gets late by the time they can take correct decisions for themselves.
- Insulin resistance and high level of insulin can make you obese.
- Some medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics and diabetes medications can make you overweight by increasing your appetite or reduce the burning of calories.
- Leptin which functions as an appetite-reduction hormone tends not to work properly in obese people.
- Excessive intake of sugar leads to obesity.
- Misinformation poses to be the biggest cause of overweight these days. Because now for getting any kind of information you just search online. But the thing is you cannot trust everything you read online. Some food companies promote few products like weight loss supplements but they work the other way round. It is important to get hold to the right piece of information.
What are the ways to assess if I am Overweight or Obese?
Obesity may seem like a straight-forward condition to evaluate. However, depending on the height, body structure, it can vary significantly from an individual to another. Hence, specialized clinics often use Body mass Index or BMI to evaluate obesity in a person. You can calculate your BMI by measuring your weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of your height in meters.
1. Body Mass Index (BMI): This is the most accepted technique used to assess body weight. It takes into account both your height and weight. It is a good body fat estimator for normal adults. However, it cannot accurately determine the body fat for athletes, bodybuilders, pregnant women and overweight children. The formula used to calculate BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in square meters. So BMI= kg/m2.WHO Classification for Obesity. Maintaining a normal Body Mass Index is the key to leading a healthy life. According to the WHO, a Body Mass Index of less than 25 is considered ideal.
- BMI of 25 to 29.9 is a Pre-Obese Stage.
- BMI of 30 to 34.99 is Obese Class I.
- BMI of 35 to 39.33 is Obese Class II.
- BMI greater than 40 is considered extremely high BMI (Morbid Obesity)
2. Some other ways to assess body fat are as mentioned below, but they are not cost-effective, require expertise and special equipment. Hydrostatic Weighing:
- It weighs the person underwater. Then calculates muscle or lean body mass and body fat.
- BOD POD is an egg-shaped computerized chamber that uses the same technique as hydrostatic weighing to measure a person’s mass and volume. This data calculates density and leads to the calculation of lean muscle mass and fat.
DEXA or Dual-energy X-Ray Absorptiometry
- This uses X-Rays to find the location and percentage of body fat present in an individual.
Can Obesity be Prevented?
If you wish to prevent obesity or are looking for remedies for weight loss, follow the tips below to improve your general lifestyle and drastically reduce your chances of ever being obese.
1. Switch to a better diet: One of the best remedies for weight loss is to eat better and cleaner. Switch to a diet with more whole foods and less processed foods as they are more nutritious and contain lesser calories. Consume high-fibre foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit or even eliminate sugary foods or drinks from your diet. Fibre is key to weight loss and consuming lots of it and drinking plenty of water every day is also considered to be a natural weight loss remedy.
2. Mindful eating: Focus on your meals and avoid eating them in front of the TV or while working or reading. People who are distracted tend to eat more than they would if they were focused on their meal and therefore, one sure-fire way to prevent obesity is to focus on every bite and eat slowly to eliminate overeating and limit food intake.
3. Do not skip meals: Unless explicitly recommended by a dietician or a doctor, do not skip meals or fast for long durations of time in order to lose weight. This will not achieve your desired goals and will only make matters worse as those who go hungry for longer periods of time tend to binge on food and overeat while they consume their subsequent meal. This not only nullifies the benefits of fasting but significantly adds to your calorie intake.
4. Get on a fitness regimen: The single most effective natural weight loss remedy is exercise. A combination of aerobic exercise like running, jogging, cycling or swimming and weight training two to four times a week will be extremely beneficial in helping you shed those extra calories and stay fit. Weight training also helps you get stronger and tone your muscles, thereby improving your stamina and general fitness levels.
5. Focus on staying active: Apart from exercise, make conscious daily choices that force you to be more active. Cycling or walking instead of taking the car if possible and walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator are some examples of how you could stay active even outside of the gym.
6. Get family and friends involved: It is very difficult to stay motivated and continue a difficult diet or demanding fitness regime unless you have the support of your family and friends. Getting them involved and letting them know about your goals and your objectives can help you get guidance and encouragement from them that might help you stay on track.
7. Sleep better: Sleep is very important for the body to detoxify and rest. Those who get less than the required amount of sleep each night are more likely to gain weight, and if you do not sleep adequately, it is highly likely that it will undo the efforts that go into your workouts and your diet. It eventually leads to a vicious cycle where the lack of sleep during the night leaves one too tired to workout or leads one to overeat during the day and the lack of exercise or physical activity, in turn, reduces the sleep quality and duration at night.
8. Reduce stress: High-stress levels often contributes to obesity as it leads to anxiety and fuels overeating or comfort eating among individuals. Stress also makes it very difficult to be disciplined in terms of your diet and workouts. It is, therefore, necessary to keep your stress levels under control by getting enough rest, managing time effectively and engaging in stress management techniques like meditation and yoga to reduce stress and stay mentally and physically present at all times. Do you have more queries about the article or are you confused about the kind of treatment or regimen recommended or if you're unsure about whether this is the right solution for you? Get clear and straightforward advise to all your questions, fears or doubts right from the comfort of your home, by booking one of our condition specific
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.