The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines obesity ‘as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health’. Studies show that people may be classified as obese, not simply because they look grossly fat, but also due to excess weight which goes beyond the acceptable parameters.
Excess weight and obesity, potentially leads to serious health conditions such as diabetes, chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, breathing problems, asthma and types of cancer such as colon cancer, bowel cancer, breast cancer and womb cancer.
Extra weight makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and as a result these conditions can make you more prone to suffer from heart disease or stroke at later stages in life. Studies have shown that persons who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Becoming more physically active and getting enough sleep helps you to reduce the chances of suffering from any one of these life-threatening ailments.
The accepted calorie intake for men and women varies. It is generally recommended that a 19-to 30-year old woman needs to consume around 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day. A man of the same age should consume around 2,600 to 2,800 calories daily.
Females between 31-to-50 years of age need to consume a maximum of 2,000 calories daily whereas males cannot exceed 2,600 calories a day. Persons over the age of 50, need to consume 1,800 calories if they are females and between 2,200 to 2,400 calories if they are males.
The reason for becoming obese is that a person’s intake of calories is more than the accepted daily limit. Some food types may also lead to rapid weight gain, especially those containing high levels of sugar and fats. Not engaging in regular exercise also increases the chances of becoming obese.
Some food types which increase the risk of weight gain include fast foods, fried foods, fatty and processed meats, sugary breakfast cereals, sweet delights, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages amongst others.
Persons leading a sedentary lifestyle involving little or no physical activity at all, are also at risk of obesity. Such a lifestyle normally includes a person sitting or lying down for a number of hours a day.
Being obese can also be associated with not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal changes and increases a hormone called ghrelin, which is known to stimulate a person’s appetite. At the same time, not getting adequate sleep results in the lower production of the leptin hormone, which is known to suppress appetite.
You can check your appropriate weight by using the Body Mass Index (BMI) tool. This tool is commonly used by doctors to determine whether a person is of the right weight depending on his age, sex and height. Persons having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 have excess weight. A BMI of 30 or over suggests that a person has reached obesity.
In this day and age where we are surrounded by various food types, we need to act with vigilance and caution on the amounts consumed on a daily basis.