Did you know that there are over a billion adult men and women across the world who are overweight, and around 300 million of them are classified as obese? In fact, in the United States alone, about 2/3 of the adult population are overweight, and 1/3 of them are obese.
With obesity being such a prevalent problem, what can you do to protect yourself?
Obesity is a health problem characterized as having a high percentage of fat in the body. Over the years, it has become more and more common and is actually considered an epidemic in many parts of the world including the United States, where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, more than 93 million adults and almost 14 million teenagers and children are obese.
To know if you are obese, your body mass index or BMI is computed.
Calculating your BMI
To determine your body mass index or BMI, you need to divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.
So, for example (#1), if you weigh 90 kilograms and are 1.75 meters tall, your BMI equation should look like this:
- BMI = 90 kilograms / (1.75)^2 = 29.388
Or, for example (#2), if you weigh 72 kilograms and are 1.55 meters tall, your BMI equation should look like this:
- BMI = 78 kilograms / (1.52)^2 = 33.76
The World Health Organization has the following BMI categories:
- BMI below 15 = very severely underweight
- BMI between 15 and 16 = severely underweight
- BMI between 16 and 18.5 = underweight
- BMI between 18.5 and 25 = normal or healthy weight
- BMI between 25 and 30 = overweight
- BMI between 30 and 35 = moderately obese
- BMI between 35 and 40 = severely obese
- BMI between 40 and 45 = very severely obese
- BMI between 45 and 50 = morbidly obese
- BMI between 50 and 60 = super obese
- BMI over 60 = hyper obese
So, for example (#1), with a BMI of 29.388, you fall under the overweight category, and for example (#2), with a BMI of 33.76, you fall under the moderately obese category.
Causes of obesity
Obesity can occur if there is an imbalance in the amount of calories that you intake and the calories that you expend. Therefore, if you eat a lot of high-calorie foods and live a sedentary lifestyle, your likelihood of gaining weight and becoming obese is very high. It can also happen due to genetics, environment, culture, and other factors.
The following are the most common causes of obesity today:
A diet that is made up of foods that are high in fat or sugar can lead to weight gain fast, increasing your risk of obesity. So, if you frequently eat sweets, fried food, fast food, and junk food, you are very prone to having an excessive amount of body fat in a very short time and be closer to obesity.
Eating too much simple carbs
According to health experts, carbohydrates can boost your blood glucose levels, stimulating insulin release by your pancreas and resulting to the growth of fatty tissue. With more fatty tissue in your body, your risk of overweight and obesity increases.
Lack of exercise
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, your body cannot burn as many calories as people who are physically active. So, you are more likely to gain weight and become obese in comparison to them.
Various studies have found that your risk of obesity is greater if one or both of your parents are obese. So, if at least one of your parents is obese, you have to be extra careful with what you eat and commit to a healthy lifestyle as early as possible.
There are certain medications that can cause weight gain. If you are currently taking antidepressants to treat your depression, diabetes medications to manage your blood sugar levels, or anticonvulsants to control seizures, you have to be prepared about gaining some weight as a side effect. You should talk to your doctor as soon as possible if this worries you.
Obesity prevention tips
Being obese makes life less fun and enjoyable. It can make doing a lot of things, even the simplest ones such as walking or getting up from bed, difficult and can limit your wardrobe options. It can make you more likely to get heart disease, kidney problems, and other medical complications.
It can even negatively impact your sex life, decreasing your libido and testosterone levels, requiring the help of supplements to get your bedroom performance back up to satisfactory levels.
You can naturally avoid obesity by making smart and healthy lifestyle choices, such as:
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Your diet should consist of foods that are rich in essential nutrients so that your body can function properly. If you eat foods that contain too much fat or sugar often, you are only increasing your risk of obesity and many other diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.
Be more physically active
According to several research studies, people who take part in zero or very limited physical activity have higher odds of gaining weight than people who are more active. This is because physical activity helps burn calories —- the more frequent and longer you exercise, the more calories you can burn.
If you are not used to exercising, you can start by walking 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Over time, gradually increase the frequency and duration of your walks, and mix up your routine by doing sprints in between.
Manage your stress
Many people who are highly stressed tend to overeat, causing them to gain weight. To prevent that, you should look into meditation, yoga, or other stress management techniques to learn how to keep your stress levels down and avoid eating more than you should.