A majority of the present human society believes that a thinner and slimmer body is more attractive. Although not all people believe this theory, there is a large number of the population who resort to all sorts of methods to maintain their figures. However, on the other side of the situation, there are also a large number of people who are far from achieving this goal. More and more people in the United States and in many other nations in the world are classified as obese.

Obesity is already considered a disease, because it requires serious medical attention to be treated, and because it can possibly cause death if not resolved right away. At present, there are over 40 million Americans who are obese today, and this does not exempt children. As of a 2004 study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) about 14% of children aged 2 to 5 are obese. Around 18% to 19% of kids from 6 to 11 years old are obese, and about 17% of adolescents from the 12 to 19 age range.

In our body the reserve of energy is store in the form of fat tissues. When this reserve of fatty tissues is increased beyond a certain level, they pose a threat to the health and can even cause disastrous consequences; this form is referred as the obesity. Even though this is purely a clinical diagnose, these days due to the increased and varied eating habits it is posed more as a public health problem. The excessive body weights due to obese condition cause many other health problems mainly the cardio vascular diseases, arthritis and diabetes.

Obesity is recognized after considering the body mass index or the BMI. BMI can be obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of his height where all the units are in the metric system. Normally a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. In any clinical testing the physicians also consider other factors like age, race and sex to give some lee ways on the BMI. Generally the BMI does not consider the fatness in a person, it only accounts for the weight in relationship to the height. In order to find out the risks towards the cardio vascular diseases, it is important to find out the circumference of a person’s waist and other body parts to ascertain the fatness of the tissues.

This raises a need to find out the measurement of the body fat of a person. The clinical standards are that men with more than 25% and women with more than 30% body fat are considered to be obese. Even though the accurate measurement of body fat is difficult, one of the established methods includes weighing a person underwater. Other tests are the skin fold test and the bioelectrical impedance analysis.

Obesity in the USA

Obesity: one of the rising problems of today

Obesity is one of the most common problems that have surfaced today. Sedentary lifestyles coupled with junk food and bad eating habits have all led to obesity problems. Even children as young as 8 or 9 years are becoming obese on account of improper eating habits.

How can a person be classified as obese?

Is this different from being overweight? For starters, an overweight person is not necessarily suffering from obesity. Weighing excessively as compared to the average for a certain height of a person is what being overweight means. An individual can be overweight because of too much developed bone mass or muscle mass, which some achieve through weight training. On the other hand, obesity is the condition of having excessive amounts of fat in the body, the levels of which are far from the normal healthy average.

Depression: a major culprit

Gone are the days when joint families used to be in existence. Today, nuclear families are slowly but surely taking their place. This often leads to a sense of isolation and an identity crisis of sorts in the members of a family. Many times, with young children, both parents are working hard to earn sufficient income. Thus, most of the time, the child is alone at home. This leads to depression in the child and to curtail this sense of depression the child turns to food as a comforting factor. By gorging on all the favorite and fatty foods like pastries, burgers, pizzas and other junk food the child hopes to overcome depression. However, the results are far from it. Instead, the child begins to suffer from obesity and continues to put on more weight as the need for constant food reaches alarming proportions.

Sedentary lifestyle: another factor for obesity

Most jobs today are skilled and require hours of sitting in front of the computer. Therefore, unlike earlier times when manual labor was more predominant, today people sit comfortably in their offices working. This leads to an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle devoid of much physical activity. Plus, with work stress and workloads reaching peak proportions the person finds little or no time to devote to exercise. The result is obesity. People have begun to suffer from the dreaded obesity simply because of their lifestyle choices. However, little do they realize that as little as 20 minutes a day is all it takes to maintain a healthy body.

What health risks are obese persons exposed to?

The health diseases associated with obesity are divided into two groups - the ones related to the increased body mass and those related to the increased fat cells. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity can lead to coronary heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, stroke, type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and respiratory ailments.

Increased body weight increases the risk of arthritis and obstructive sleep apnea while the increase in the number of fat cells makes it more prone to fatty liver diseases, cancer, diabetes and cardio vascular diseases. Other than these diseases there could also be a social stigma of staying out of shape and the loneliness caused by the restricted movement and outdoor activities. Because the health risks are real and are imminent, doctors sometimes take extreme measures to address the problem of obesity.

Health risks on account of obesity

Statistics estimate that people suffering from obesity will suffer from various associated health problems like heart attacks, stroke, stress, depression, diabetes and many other risks. Not only that, it has also been found that children will continue to suffer from obesity and the rate of obesity will keep increasing unless parents take appropriate steps. By inculcating regular exercise and placing limits on the intake of food a parent can instill healthy eating habits in a child. Besides, cooking one’s own food is said to be far healthier and devoid of unhealthy fats that can cause obesity. With most parents working they find little or no time to cook meals at home with the result takeaways and ready too eat foods have become popular. However, these foods contain high amounts of preservatives to help the foods have a longer shelf life. These preservatives can also lead to obesity.

Obese children may face higher risk of heart disease

Going back to the basics to deal with obesity

The answer to tackling obesity lies in Mother Nature itself. It is a simple logical approach and yet can be very tough to follow. Regular exercise, eating fresh, healthy home cooked food and eating in moderate amounts can all help a person to combat obesity and lead a healthy life.

There are also currently many surgical techniques that help treat obesity in many patients. One of these is the gastric bypass surgery; where in a portion of the stomach is stapled to decrease its overall size. A smaller stomach means that for a small amount of food eaten, a person becomes fuller right away, and won’t feel the need to eat more. The process is actually not simple as it looks, and is often a challenge to many patients post-operatively.

Unlike other diseases the control and management of obesity is in the hands of the patient himself. A redefined lifestyle with emphasis on dietary regulations and exercises is the best method of treatment for obesity. Avoidance of fatty foods would help in the reduction of fat accumulation in the body. In many cases the obesity is found due to the calorific imbalance which is developed due to both genetically and environment conditions. This would cause a considerable disturbance in the metabolism of a person’s body. In case of a genetically impaired DNA causing obesity, nothing much could be done except there is a single locus mutation for the cells which is a much costly affair. In all other normal conditions, shifting to a regime of regular exercises and a healthy lifestyle will get obesity under control. There are new diet options and exercise regimens that overweight and obese people can look to. As the treatment of the disease is gradual, it does take the effort and commitment of both the patients and their families to get the job done.

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