Overweight and obesity

The overweight is overweight caused by an accumulation of body fat that can harm health. A person is considered overweight if their body mass index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 25 .

The obesity is also overweight caused by an accumulation of body fat that can harm health, but only a person considered obese when their BMI is equal to or greater than 30 .

OverweightObesity
DefinitionOverweight is an excess of body weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a person in relation to their age, height and sex, defined by a body mass index equal to or greater than 25.Obesity is when a person is overweight due to an accumulation of body fat, which can harm health, defined by a mass index equal to or greater than 30.
Body mass indexFrom 25 to 29.9.Greater than 30.
Causes
  • Consumption of foods rich in calories and of low nutritional value.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Bad sleep habits.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • High consumption of foods rich in calories and low in nutritional value.
  • Metabolism and hormonal disorders.
  • Genetic predisposition.
Effects edit
  • Mobility and physical activity problems.
  • Various types of cancer.
  • Depression and low self-esteem.
  • Type II diabetes.
  • Coronary diseases.
  • Social problems and discrimination.
  • Depression and low self-esteem.
  • Various types of cancer
  • It can lead to death.
Treatments and prevention
  • Consult a specialist for proper treatment.
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Consult a specialist for proper treatment.
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Join support groups.
  • In severe cases, the doctor may prescribe the use of medications or a surgical intervention.
Population worldwideMore than 1.9 billion adults (in 2016, according to the World Health Organization).Around 650 million adults (in 2016, according to the World Health Organization).

What is being overweight?

Being overweight is an excess of body weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a person in relation to their age, height and gender. In many cases, being overweight is accompanied by excess body fat.

To define whether a person is overweight, the body mass index or BMI is used . Generally, if an adult has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 this person is considered to be overweight.

Although being overweight can lead to excess body fat, this excess is not present in all cases in which an individual has a BMI equal to or greater than 25.

Causes of being overweight

Different factors can be responsible for weight gain in a person: eating habits, medical condition, hereditary factors and others contribute to a picture of being overweight.

The main causes of being overweight are:

  • Consumption of foods rich in calories and little energy expenditure.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Bad sleep habits.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • The use of some medications.
  • Psychological and emotional problems (depression, anxiety, stress).

Consequences of being overweight

The effects of being overweight are reflected both physically, psychologically and emotionally, causing some health complications and self-esteem problems.

Among the main effects of being overweight are:

  • Difficulty performing certain physical movements.
  • Joint problems.
  • Low self-esteem and depression associated with body image.
  • Coronary diseases.
  • It can increase your risk for different types of cancer.

Treatments and prevention of overweight

Maintaining good eating habits and doing frequent physical activity are recommended to treat and prevent being overweight. Family and social support is also important, since it favors the maintenance of a healthy weight. It is important that each person is evaluated by a medical specialist before starting any weight reduction treatment.

What is obesity?

Obesity is defined as being overweight due to the accumulation of body fat that can affect a person’s health. If the BMI is equal to or greater than 30 , the person is considered obese.

When a person’s BMI is between 30 and 39.9, they are considered to have a moderate to serious degree of obesity. If the BMI exceeds 40, this person is considered to have a morbid to extreme degree of obesity.

Causes of obesity

Obesity can be caused by factors such as poor eating habits, medical condition, genetic predisposition, or family and social context.

We can consider the following as the main causes of obesity:

  • Increased consumption of foods rich in fats and carbohydrates.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Consumption of certain medications.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Metabolism disorders.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Cushing’s syndrome or hypercortisolism.
  • Hormonal problems such as hyperthyroidism.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Different types of physical disability.

Consequences of obesity

Suffering from obesity can put health at risk, in addition to causing psychological and social problems that affect the quality of life of people who suffer from it.

The main health effects of obesity can be:

  • Reduced life expectancy.
  • Suffering from type II diabetes.
  • Arthritis due to weight overload on the joints.
  • Coronary problems
  • Increased risk of some types of cancer.
  • Urinary incontinence
  • In women, gynecological problems (abnormal menstruation, infertility, or polycystic ovary syndrome).
  • Sleep apnea (oxygen obstruction that causes sleep disturbances).
  • Hygiene related problems.

Among the psychological and social effects of obesity, we can mention:

  • Public transport and other services not adapted for this condition, which can also promote personal difficulties and integration and social interaction difficulties.
  • Discrimination.
  • Psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

Treatments and prevention of obesity

As with being overweight, maintaining good eating habits and engaging in consistent physical activity are key to treating or preventing obesity. However, as obesity is a much more acute condition than being overweight, the health risk is much greater.

Being part of support groups, medication and, in severe cases, surgical procedures such as gastric bypass are necessary to improve this condition.

What is body mass index?

The body mass index or BMI is a statistical measure obtained from the relationship between a person’s weight and height. This indicator is used as a reference to classify whether a person is overweight or obese, also considering factors such as age and sex.

How is BMI calculated?

To calculate BMI, a person’s weight in kilograms is divided by the square of their height in meters. For example, if a person weighs 90 kilos and measures 1.80 meters, their BMI will be 27.7:

90 kg (weight) / 1.80 mx 1.80 m (height squared) = 27.7 kg / m 2 .

A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy for adult men and women .

In the case of children , BMI is used in conjunction with gender and age to classify whether they are overweight or obese. This is because height and the amount of body fat constantly vary during development and differ depending on gender.

Classification of BMI in adults

IMCWeight range
Less than 18.5Under weight
18,5 – 24,9Healthy weight
25 – 29,9Overweight
30 – 39,9Types I and II obesity
Greater than 40Types III and IV obesity

Limitations of the body mass index

Even if it is a tool used to measure whether a person is overweight or obese, BMI is not sufficient to diagnose excess fat or health problems related to these medical conditions.

It is possible for a person to have a high BMI and be in good health at the same time.

For example, athletes from various sports disciplines may have a high BMI, compared to someone who leads a less active life.

Therefore, it is important to consider factors such as age, sex, ethnic origin, muscle mass and bone mass, to determine more accurately if there are health problems related to overweight and obesity.

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