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What is Obesity and What Does it Mean? Are You Killing Yourself by Being Fat? Is Your Weight Killing You?

Updated on August 24, 2016

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Obesity: Educate Yourself Now About Healthy Weight Loss

Obesity is a medical condition that describes an accumulation of excess body fat. The excess body fat is not merely a few pounds; indeed most obese people will carry in excess of 30 to 40 pounds more than their recommended weight. The increase of excess body fat is so excessive that an obese person may suffer a multitude of health problems which may cause premature death. Health problems may include the following...

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of a stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back problems
  • Painful joints
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Gall stones
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Infertility

The term clinically obese describes a person with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. The term morbidly obese describes a person with a BMI of over 40. The ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 25. Calculating the body fat content is also another way of clinically determining obesity.

Calculate your BMI with this formula

BMI = weight (Kg) ÷ height (m²)

Example: Based on a person weighing 55 Kg with a height of 1.65 m

BMI = 55 Kg ÷ (1.65 m × 1.65 m) = 55 Kg ÷ 2.72 = 20.2 (ideal)

Check out the graph below for an easier way to calculate an ideal weight in relation to height... remember to allow room for age, sex and build.

BMI Graph

Obesity is caused by eating more calories than the body requires to function. The remaining calories are stored as fat. Evidence to support larger people eating little, yet susceptible to gaining weight is confined. Bigger people need more calories to function than smaller people.

The association with weight gain in relation to genes is constantly under speculation: while a bigger build may be gene related; obesity (if not medical) is caused from consuming more calories than the body requires. Endocrine disorders and certain medicines have been proved to cause weight gain, however the effects are too broad to provide adequate statistics world wide. There are extensive tests that can diagnose illnesses where obesity may be a side effect. Psychiatric illness may also be a probably cause or an additional aspect of obesity. Stress and depression are other factors that may contribute to weight gain.

Generally however the main cause of obesity boils down to a mathematical equation; calories = energy required to fuel the body. If the energy consumed exceeds the amount of fuel used: the energy is surplus and stored as fat.

If a person eats 3500 calories more then the required calories in one week they will gain a pound. If that person is already living a sedentary lifestyle they will gain at least 2Ibs. Should this become routine a person would gain between 52Ibs and 104Ibs in one year. That one pound a week adds up to 3 stone and 10Ibs a year; at 2lbs a week the addition arrives at a majestic 7 stone 6Ibs in weight.

Admittedly an extra 3500 calories seems like a lot of calories. In fact this amount is almost double the recommended daily amount of 2000 calories for women. However a little research shows that an extra 3500 calories doesn't stretch that far when fast food, sugary drinks and sweet treats are on the menu.

  • A big mac meal averages 1,000 calories
  • A whopper and a large soft drink will cost a whopping 800 calories
  • 1/2 a large meat and cheese pizza with a large soft drink tops the calorie scale at 1200
  • A caramel topped, cream filled eclair averages 300 calories
  • Two chocolate biscuits hit 200 calories

The above (once in a while) treats quickly add up to an average of 3,500 calories a week. An extra pound in weight. Eating like this, will result in major weight gain in less then six months. This major weight gain will soar another few notches if activity is at a minimum level.

Obesity Around The World

Obesity has drastically increased since the 1980s. In recent years according to the World Health Organisation one billion people are overweight in the world; 300 million being clinically obese. That means in actual fact there are more overweight people in the world today than there are starving people. Our world harbours more than 800 million starving people.

Countries like the United States, Mexico, The United Kingdom, Australia and Greece are among the fattest in the world. Obesity costs millions of pounds world wide. And the cost is going up.

A Smart Scale and Body Fat Monitor: Know Your Body Measurements

Test Your Calorie Knowledge...

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Help Yourself: Help Your Child: Don't be a Statistic

Beat Obesity: Get Control: A Guide to Your Child's Healthy Weight

Why Are We Getting Fatter?

Before the arrival of the 20th century obesity was a rarity. What changed in our envirnonment to encourage us to eat more and move less? The introduction of modern machinery and household appliances has revolutionised our world. We don't have to walk anywhere or even take the stairs anymore. Hard labour has been replaced with machinery in practically all industries. Our homes are full of modern appliances from washing and drying our clothes to self clean ovens and ever gadget under the sun: juicers; slicers; mixers; cutters; mashers. You name we've got it. Even mowing the lawn is a ride in the park these days with seated lawn mowing machines that look like mini tractors.

Family entertainment has been reduced to TV and computer games. These days playing a game of football requires two players and a remote control instead of two teams and a football. The arrival of the phone followed by the mobile has completely changed the way we communicate. No more hopping over the wall to chat with a neighbour or walking down the street to a visit a family member. The internet has our finger tips and wrists working out like crazy while the rest of our bodies morph into the Michelin Man. With all the social mediums today we are in fact very anti social in person. Just a minute, I forgot to add Aunt Bessie's yorkshire puddings to my shopping delivery.

Now where was I? Oh yes! Ready meals and buckets of junk food keep all the family happy. Quick and cheap food full of fat and salt. The introduction of processed and convenience foods not only challenged their fresh and healthy counterparts on price and sell by date but also added more sugar and salt to the average daily diet. Sugary foods and drinks are available in numerous quantities and buying bigger usually means paying less. And these days we don't even need a work out with that ever annoying supermarket trolley that insists on going everywhere expect where you want it to go. Yes, so simple, just email your shopping list to one of the bigger brand supermarkets and hey presto your shopping is delivered to your door.

Portion sizes have gone through the roof. Eat all you want buffets are rampant and cost next to nothing. In fact some restaurants advertise 'Eat the house special (half a cow between two burger buns) and not only will you get it free, you get the T-shirt too'. Can we really blame fast foods, modern appliances and the internet for us being fatter now than ever before? Is it really our fault that portion sizes are mammoth? Who can blame families with busy lives opting to watch TV rather than going out for a walk together?

The Bigger Picture

Perhaps blame should belong to the individual; after all we make our own choices. Eating huge amounts of food and doing little or no exercise is surely a slippery slope. Being clinically obese is a serious health issue. Losing weight can dramatically improve health and lifestyle.

There is help out there for those that seek it. Pills to reduce the appetite, operations to reduce the stomach volume, counseling and support from families, friends and medical personnel. Books and videos on self help and awareness that will educate and provide much needed information to help you help yourself and your family. We are responsible for our children and what they eat.

Eating healthy and exercising regularly increases the metabolism, energy levels and self esteem. Losing weight isn't easy! But, it will get easier with time. Make the right choices and live longer; surely there's no competition when it boils down to life or death. Visit your doctor; get help; make today the first day of the rest of your life.

© 2011 Gabriel Wilson


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    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 3 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Thank you for reading and I really appreciated your comment :)

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 3 years ago from Shimla, India

      i like how you write your posts and inform readers :)

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi NATURESMOTIONS. Nice to meet you :) Yes, you are so right; it's down to the individual to change their life and they must have the determination to do so.

    • NATURESMOTIONS profile image

      NATURESMOTIONS 6 years ago from Oregon

      I enjoyed this read. I think it is great that you shared this information with the world. Obesity is deadly. Only one person can stop it the individual must take control.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      What a heart felt statement, I admire your attitude and only wish more people felt like you. I believe with your passion you will help many people find the power. Best wishes.

    • drkathleenfuller profile image

      drkathleenfuller 6 years ago from 322 SW Ocean Blvd, Stuart, Florida 34994

      Excellent information on obesity- I have a passion to help people find the power to change their lives.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi Nan Mynatt; will do. I wish you all the best and hope you triumph :)

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 6 years ago from Illinois

      I like your outline of what being obsesity does to us. It is true I had the problem, and related disease. Diabetes II is a disease, and you can't hide it. I am on to something new that is helping me. Check out my movie and see what you think. and $$

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Knowledge and commitment; very well said fucsia.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      Thanks for this informative Hub. Obesity is an important problem that I think can be overcome with the knowledge and commitment.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      It's true Brinafr3sh: We've only one chance at life. Exercise and healthy eating are at the core of everybody's one chance. This we can control.

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 7 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Thanks Gabriel Wilson, neat hub writing. The side affects of become obese are dangerous. And for thin individuals also, whom don't eat healthy or exercise either. Every size person needs to education ourselves on maintaining a regular healthy diet. Voted up and useful.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      I forgot to add; I calculated your IBM using the above formula and you are 19.13, meaning you're in the ideal zone.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile image

      Gabriel Wilson 7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      There are 2.2 pounds in every kilo; so if you simple divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 you will get to kilos. Your 117 pounds equal 53.18 kilos.

      The chart is pretty standard; I looked up hundreds. The problem is being very over weight; being slim is healthy.

      Tanx for commenting and for reading.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      You might want to include a website or conversion chart for pounds. Here in America we don't measure with kilograms.

      According to your chart I'm underweight. I'm 5'6" and weigh 117 pounds I am not considered too thin by my doctor's chart. Y'all must use a different rate in the UK.

      Another theory is that we now put a lot more sugar in our food as well as high fructose corn syrup which some scientists say is harder to digest and turns to fat more quickly.