Obesity

BMI

There are several ways to calculate whether you are within a healthy weight range or not. One of the simple ways is by calculating your body mass index (BMI).

To know your BMI is by dividing your weight in kilograms with your height in metres squared. For example, if you weigh 65 kg and your height is 1.78 m, your BMI is 65 divided by 2.89m2 (from 1.78 x 1.78), which equals 22.49.

Classification

World Health Organization (WHO) classification for obesity :

  • BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2 is called overweight.
  • BMI of 30-39.9 kg/m2 is called obese.
  • BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2 is called morbid obese.

Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. But there are other factors that also play a role in obesity. These may include:

  • Age. As you get older, your body’s ability to metabolize food slows down and you do not require as many calories to maintain your weight. This is why people note that they eat the same and do the same activities as they did when they were 20 years old, but at age 40, gain weight.
  • Gender. Women tend to be more overweight than men. Men have a higher resting metabolic rate (meaning they burn more energy at rest) than women, so men require more calories to maintain their body weight. Additionally, when women become postmenopausal, their metabolic rate decreases. That is partly why many women gain weight after menopause.
  • Genetics. Obesity (and thinness) tends to run in families.
  • Environmental factors. Environmental factors include lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and how active he or she is.
  • Physical activity. Active individuals require more calories than less active ones to maintain their weight. Additionally, physical activity tends to decrease appetite in obese individuals while increasing the body’s ability to preferentially metabolize fat as an energy source.
  • Psychological factors. Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger.
  • Illness. Although not as common as many believe, there are some illnesses that can cause obesity. These include hormone problems such as hypothyroidism (poorly acting thyroid slows metabolism), depression, and some rare diseases of the brain that can lead to overeating.
  • Medication. Certain drugs, such as steroids and some antidepressants, may cause excessive weight gain.

Conservative estimates suggest that as many as 250 million people (approximately 7% of the estimated current world population) are obese. Two- to three-times more people than this are probably overweight.

Someone with obesity tends to have higher risk factors for several health problems.

  • Heart and vascular problems: hypertension, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, stroke
  • Gastrointestinal problems: gall stones, fatty liver, gastroesofageal reflux disease
  • Respiratory problems: obstructive sleep apnea, hypoventilation syndrom, increased incidence of bronchial asthma
  • Some types of malignancy, i.e. prostate, gall bladder, breast, colon cancer.
  • Psychologic issues: social stigmatization, depression
  • Bone and joint problems: chronic low back pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain
  • Metabolic disorders: diabetes, dyslipidemia
  • And the list can go on.

Like all chronic medical conditions, effective management of obesity must be based on a partnership between a highly motivated patient and a committed team of health professionals, including the physician, psychologists or psychiatrist, physical and exercise therapists, dietitians, and other subspecialists, depending on the co-morbidities of the individual patient.

Are you concerned you may be obese?  BIMC Hospital offers a Comprehensive Health Assessment.  A health assessment is a thorough examination which is an important factor for early detection of a specific disease and can be used as a baseline examination for further medical assessment. Please contact BIMC Hospital to book your appointment or for further information about the Comprehensive Health Assessment, simply click here.

Reference:

  • webmd
  • emedicine
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