There is an epidemic of obesity in the world today, especially in the United States. Some contribute it to the rapid developments in technology that reduce the need for manual labor while others blame it on the television and the internet.
Still others say that it’s caused by the easily accessed variety of foods that we have today in the industrialized world. Most likely all of these things are factors in the rise of obesity.
Obesity doesn’t simply mean overweight. There are many people that are overweight but are not yet considered obese.
Scientifically, a person is considered to be obese when their body mass index (BMI) is 30 or above.
BMI is the measure of a person’s weight scaled according to their height and was developed in 1840 by the Belgian scientist Adolphe Quetelet.
This index tells us how much fat is stored in the body. Most doctors simplify this and classify anyone who is fifty pounds or more overweight as obese.
The problem goes far beyond outward appearance.
Obesity contributes greatly to a number of health issues, some of which can be life threatening. Having excess fat stored at the waistline has been shown to increase the risk of developing some of these diseases. Women with a waist greater than 35 inches or men with a waist greater than 40 inches are at greatest risk of problems down the road.
Joints all over the body but especially in the legs and feet are put under extreme stress when one is obese. This joint stress causes pain now and can lead to arthritis and other joint diseases as one gets older.
This pain and the fact that it takes more of a toll on the body to carry around that extra weight leads to a more sedentary lifestyle which in turn can lend itself to even more weight gain.
As you become more sedentary, your risk grows of circulatory conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These conditions in turn lead to higher risks of serious cardiac problems such as heart attacks or strokes. Your respiratory system can also be affected by obesity as your lungs also are taxed by the extra weight. Conditions such as sleep apnea and asthma can develop.
Obesity does not have to be a lifelong condition, however. Your doctor can help you develop a plan for losing weight that includes a nutritional plan as well as an exercise plan. Every pound that you lose puts you one step closer to a healthier body and one step away from the risk of dangerous health conditions.