What is obesity?
It can be simply defined as the excessive accumulation of body fats which becomes harmful to the body itself.
Please note that obesity cannot be diagnosed by merely looking at someone, you can be fat not still not be overweight.
If your body mass index, i.e, a ratio of your weight to that of height is above 30 Kg/m2. you are obese.
The normal BMI value ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 Kg/m2.
Obesity is one of the most common, dreadful, but yet underrated epidemics. Many people fail to understand that obesity has so many complications. It causes most diseases which may not be cured completely. These complications will be stated clearly as we journey down the lean.
What causes obesity?
Obesity can be caused by several factors such as:
Have you noticed that there are some people that will never get excessively fat no matter the diet they live on, while other people have more tendency of becoming fat when fed with the same diet.
You could have seen one or two articles highlighting ethnicity as a cause of obesity, it’s not different from saying obesity can be inherited from parents to their children, especially if both parents are obese.
Also, some individuals are born without the hormone called “leptin”, the hormone in our body that tells us to stop eating when we have eaten to the level the body needs at the moment.
Now, someone without leptin eats excessively, accumulating fats in the adipose tissues (cells where fat is stored) and perhaps, they become overweight.
High caloric intake
Another common cause of excessive fat accumulation is the type of food we eat, in what proportion it’s eaten, and how often it’s eaten.
For instance, consumption of carbohydrate foods like rice in larger quantities, drinking beer excessively and frequently, or choosing diets with lots of simple sugars can result in excessive weight gain.
Some cooking spices like Onga and Kitchen Glory contain a chemical called “monosodium glutamate” (locally called Ajinomoto in Nigeria) which increases one’s appetite. This substance blocks the areas in the brain that tells us we have eaten to the body’s nutrients requirement.
Thus making us to eat excessively and become obese. Some studies also report that monosodium glutamate causes leptin (the satiety hormone) resistance.
Consumption of fatty foods also increases our weight and body sizes, eating lots of fried junk foods increases the production of more fat cells so that excess nutrients can be stored. This results in excessive weight gain especially in people living sedentary lifestyles.
Lack of exercise
Some people do not exercise, maybe due to an unsecured environment, (e.g, fear of going out for workout because of issues of kidnapping) poverty (inability to afford gym bills or exercise equipment).
Obesity becomes difficult to manifest when you exercise periodically, because it shields down all the excess fat accumulation from high caloric dietary intake.
The benefits from exercise explains why some people look fat but are neither overweight or obese.
Diseases and some medications
Researchers have shown that some diseases like hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and insulin resistance also cause obesity. In the future, patients with the disease have high levels of glucose in their blood without any absorption hence insulin is insensitive, these complications will be explained in the subsequent sections of this article.
Some people eat more when they are angry,extremely excited, or bored. Maintenance of such moods along with such high dietary intake can cause obesity.
Lack of money to buy the recommended food for yourself sometimes leaves you with the Choice of eating the one available.
Also, some women become obese after pregnancy. This is more commonly seen in African and Indian women.
Risk Factors of Obesity
This section explains why we introduced obesity as an epidemic. You will understand after reading the risk factors or consequences of excessive body weight and fat accumulation.
High risk of autoimmune diseases
In brevity, simply understand that when we eat lots of simple carbohydrates foods, excess of those nutrients will be free in the blood, because the one needed by the body has already been stored. Now, this excess nutrients travel in the bloodstream as “free radicals”, the body then receives signals to get rid of the excessive nutrients.
However our immune by or defensive systems sometimes attack these excess nutrients thinking they are foreign substances (because the nutrients are not where they are supposed to be, and in the wrong proportion).
In this process, some body cells are killed (apoptosis),resulting in inflammation, reduction in the functioning of the cells in that tissue or organs, or total insensitivity. This explains that obese people can easily develop:
Several liver diseases and
Coronary heart disease
High blood pressure
The presence of excess nutrients in blood increases its viscosity. Viscous blood travels slowly through the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood pressure needed to pump the blood to and away from the heart.
Stroke is a blockage in the blood supply in the brain. In Obese people, the nutrients they consume in high quantities may block such arteries. This results in a stroke.
Management of Obesity
Interestingly, the above listed complications can be prevented or cured if we:
Monitor our dietary intake and how often we eat
Feed on supplements that reduces excess weight
Undergo surgical operations to remove fats
Avoid medications that causes obesity
Avoid chronic alcoholism.
Use certain medications for weight loss
Take Home Tip: The best way to treat obesity is by lifestyle modifications; most drugs have side effects you may not be pleasant with.