Many people around the world have become overweight or obese despite the conditions of health being preventable. Overweight and obesity characterized by excessive body fat, which increases the risk of contracting health complications (Chu 1097). BMI offers a valuable population-level determination of overweight and obesity. An overweight person’s BMI is 25 to 29, while an obese individual is 30 and above.
Sadly, overweight and obesity put people at high risk for severe health conditions such as diabetes, sleep disorder, and cancer. Also, people suffering from obesity may experience pain in their joints, fatigue, snoring in their sleep, and binge eating habits (Chu 1097). More females suffer from obesity than the male gender, and the gap is continually rising. Women between the age of 40 and 50 are the most affected. Although obesity is mostly evident in adults, children and teenagers also suffer from this condition. Obese children are overweight as compared to others in their age group and height (Paolicelli 40). Childhood obesity is dangerous as it can cause serious health complications that last a lifetime. These complications include cardiovascular diseases brought about by high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, obesity can lead to glucose intolerance in the blood, which leads to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes (Chu 1097). I choose to focus on the causes, health consequences, and prevention of overweight and obesity to create enlightenment and make people promote fitness and well-being.
Causes of Obesity
Unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise have long been known to be the primary causes of overweight and obesity. Foods rich in starch and cholesterol, primarily most fast foods, are categorized as unhealthy foods that lead to obesity (Fernandes et al.). Food outlets have been divided into good and bad, or healthy and unhealthy according to the types of food they sell. However, a food outlet could have regular customers with a healthy weight and at the same time overweight customers, evidence that the classification of food outlets as good or bad should be avoided. Overweight and obesity is a subject that calls for modern research, a systematic thinking approach to establish the causes and prevention measures.
Obesity has long been known to be attributed to intakes more calories than one body can break down when undertaking physical activities, and behavior (Bleich 340). However, their pathogenesis is more than a simple breakdown of fats, although it is still among the factors. Clinical-based research has revealed more than 50 genes that cause overweight and obesity and 36 that attribute to type 2 diabetes. In addition, other psycho-social factors lead to obesity such as, sex, race, age, behavior, and lifestyle choices.
Clinical researchers have reported the existence of genes that are linked with excessive weight gain (Paolicelli 45). For instance, a defect in the gene that generates the leptin hormone, which regulates body weight, can lead to obesity. Leptin protein is made by the obese gene, which is active in the body’s fat cell, circulating in the bloodstream. Leptin is then sensed by the brain and computes how much fat is present in the body. According to the information gathered, the brain allows the deposition or removal of the fat in the body (Leskova 24). Although not very commonly known, there exist 50 genes that scientists have associated with obesity. The genes linked with obesity influence behavior like appetite and body functions such as body fat content.
Hormonal changes are also a factor that contributes significantly to overweight and obesity, and type-2 diabetes. For example, in women, estrogen is a hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism by catalyzing the burning of excess calories. As women undergo menopause, their estrogen levels drop, leading to increased body fat (Leskova 21). Although most women experience weight gain during this time, not all women gain weight. Body fat mostly deposited around the abdominal area, leading to a boost in belly fat. Weight gain during menopause lasts for about two to eight years, varying in various women.
Lifestyle change, dietary consumption, and physical exercise have also contributed to overweight and obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The campaign for healthy eating and physical activity to fight obesity is prevalent in the 21st century. However, people continue to suffer from obesity. Nutritionists’ advice for numerous amounts of fruits, vegetables, and fluid intake (Bleich 338). It is essential to note that even healthy foods can be unhealthy according to the portions being consumed daily. Physical exercises help to burn out excess calories stored in the body. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity.
Compared to people with a healthy weight, people with overweight and obesity have increased chances of suffering from many serious health conditions. Obesity is implicated in the etiology of the leading causes of death globally (Jonas 13). Health conditions caused by overweight and obesity include; hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type, 2 diabetes, strokes, and gall bladder diseases (Jonas 16). Other health complications caused by overweight and obesity are breathing problems, such as sleeping apnea and asthma. The complications caused by overweight and obesity lead to high mortality levels. However, not everyone who is overweight suffers from these conditions (Fernandes et al.). Also, the consequences vary in gender, genetic composition, and other environmental factors (Fernandes et al.). For instance, adult men have a higher ratio of abdominal fat composition than women. However, women are at a higher risk of suffering genetic obesity. Also, a higher number of women suffer type-2 diabetes as compared to men (Chu 1097).
Collection of the dietary behaviors adopted by a population is an essential method of monitoring their intakes to improve on the diet. However, writing of diaries and use smartphones to take and record through images is incomplete and inadequate data (Fernandes et al.). A modern approach is the application of specialized applications on smartphones, tertiary use of loyalty cards used for shopping, and food outlet databases to derive the exact nutritional intake and their composition.
Additionally, keeping a record of PA levels and energy expenditure is a modern method of controlling the population’s weight (Boulos 3). Some gadgets used to measure PA include LS, GPS-based applications, and exergaming devices. Scientists advocate for wearable devices and mobile apps that connect to the calorimeter to measure the type and intensity of exercising (Boulos 3). The devices reveal surprising facts about the population PA and accurate data on the energy spent daily. Monitoring the energy expenditure can help take necessary measures on weight management.
Moreover, taking population records on health status, stress levels, and conditions is critical in managing overweight and obesity. These conditions include the population’s; blood sugar levels, BMI, blood pressure level, cholesterol, body fat percentage, and others should be combined with other conditions such as chronic and long-term conditions (Boulos 4 ). All these factors together with population lifestyle are possible causes of overweight and obesity. In addition, exposure to environmental factors such as pollutants over a long period, for instance, one year, should be recorded to reveal their contribution to population weight (Boulos). These data can be collected using smartphones and wearable devices.
Overweight and obesity is a prevalent topic and is recognized as one of the leading non-communicable conditions that leads to death (Fernandes et al.). Overweight is determined by BMI levels where a person with a BMI greater than 30 is referred to as obese. Dietary intake and physical exercises have been recognized as the primary attributing factors to overweight and obesity. However, recent research revealed the need for a more modern, systematic thinking approach to establish the causes and prevention measures of overweight and obesity. Dashboards should be developed for smarter public health decision-making in OO and T2D control and prevention in their locales (Boulos 2). Preventative measures and treatment of the studied diseases should go beyond simple recommendations about eating more fruit and vegetables and exercising regularly.
Bleich, Sara N., et al. “Interventions to Prevent Global Childhood overweight and Obesity: A Systematic review.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, vol. 6, no. 4, 2018, pp. 332-346. Web.
Boulos, Maged N. Kamel, and Keumseok Koh. “Smart City Lifestyle Sensing, Big Data, Geo-Analytics and Intelligence for Smarter Public Health Decision-Making in Overweight, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention: The Research We Should be Doing.”, 2021, pp.1-10. Web.
Chu, Dinh-Toi, et al. “An Update on Physical Health and Economic Consequences of Overweight and Obesity.” Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, vol. 12, no.6, 2018, pp. 1095-1100. Web.
Fernandes, João C., and GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. “Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries Over 25 Years.” New England Journal of Medicine, 2017. Web.
Jonas, Bovijn, et al. “Causal Relationships between Obesity and the Leading Causes of Death in Women and Men”. PLoS Genetics, vol. 15, no. 10, 2019, pp. 1-22. Web.
Leskova, Irina V., et al. “Obesity in Russia: Modern View in the Light of Social Problems.” Obesity and Metabolism, vol.16, no.1, 2019, pp. 20-26. Web.
Paolicelli, Courtney Winston. Weight Management and Obesity. Momentum Press, 2016.