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Obesity:It's causes,effects and how to overcome it

Updated on September 6, 2012

Obesity is one of the most serious health problems that the world faces today.Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a adverse effect on health,resulting in reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.It is not the same as being overweight,which means weighing too much.A person may be overweight from extra muscle,bone or water as well as having too much fat.However both terms mean that a person's weight is higher than what is thought to be healthy for his/her weight.Tendency for weight gain differs from one person to another due to pre-existing factors like genetics,health problems,general activity level and mobility issues.Your metabolism dictates how effectively the calories you take in are used.Each person has their own individual daily caloric needs,called the basal Metabolic rate.


Causes of obesity:

  • Taking in more calories than you can burn as the human body stores the un-used calories as fat.
  • Not getting enough exercise;as in not being active,being a "couch potato,not having a daily walk and other things.
  • Drinking too much alcohol,which also has many other effects.
  • Increasing rates of obesity at a "societal level" are felt to be due to an easily accessible and palatable diet,increased reliance on cars and mechanized manufacturing.
  • The way we ate when we were children;meaning our eating habit can affect the way we eat as adults.The way we ate over the years have become a habit.It affects what we eat,when we eat and how much we eat.
  • A limited number of cases are due to genetic or medical reasons such as a person suffering from thyroid gland or taking medicines such as a birth control pill and anti-depressants.

Other less influential but possible reasons as to the increase of obesity in recent years include:

  • Insufficient sleep,stress,anxiety or feeling sad.This does not mean that people who are overweight or obese suffer from more emotional problems than normal people.The thing is these problem as in their feelings may result in causing them to overeat.
  • Obesity can be associated with other eating dis-orders,such as binge eating or bulimia.The term "eating disorder" means a group of medical conditions that have an unhealthy focus on dieting,eating,losing or gaining weight and body image.All three conditions can be present in a person at the same time.
  • Decreased rates of smoking,because smoking suppresses appetite.Most people who quit smoking gain 4-10 pounds in the first 6 months after quitting.some people gain as much as 25-30 pounds.
  • Proportional increase in ethnic and age groups that tend to be heavier.
  • Genetics is also a cause of obesity as in a person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese.
  • For women:Not losing the weight they had gained during pregnancy.


Measuring Obesity

The Body mass index (BMI),is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height.BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat.Body mass index is defined as the indiviual's body mass divided by the square of his/her height.BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults, but it is merely a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individual's.The WHO defines an adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 as overweight-an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese-a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight,and between 18.5 to 24.9 a healthy weight.BMI provides a bench-mark for individual assessment,but experts suspect that the risk of chronic disease in populations increases progressively from a BMI of 21 upwards.


Effects of Obesity on a person's health

Obesity is a major concern because of the effects it can have on one's health and it increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions such as:

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (breast,endometrial and colon)
  • Hypertension (high bloodpressure which it-self can result in a lot of other related health problems
  • Obstructive Sleep apnoea( difficulty in breathing during sleep)and respiratory problems.
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Dyslipidemia (For example,high total cholesterol or high levels of Triglycerides
  • Stroke
  • Gynaecological problems (abnormal menses,in-fertility)

These conditions can cause or contribute to pre-mature deaths and substantial dis-ability.

Overcoming Obesity

  • Exercise activity:

Increased physical activity or exercise is a must for the treatment of obesity.Most people are who are able to maintain their weight loss for a period of a longer time than just a few months get regular exercise.

Exercise is one of the most important things to follow to overcome obesity.To achieve significant weight loss,one must need to get 250 to 300 minutes of exercise a week.One must make his own daily exercise plan,set a a achievable goal and keep working on it.One may then need to increase his exercise period through-out the year as his/her endurance and fitness improves.For example Tread-mill and cycling exercises help people a lot to lose weight.

  • Daily routine

Apart from exercise one must improve his daily activities;meaning for example if a store is not so far away from your house,instead of going by the car one must go their simply by walking.Other ways include regularly doing house-chores,being active and moving around periodically as any extra movement helps burn calories although not as much as aerobic exercise helps to.

  • Dietary changes

Burning the excess calories and eating much healthier food are vital to overcoming obesity.Although one may lose weight quickly at first,slow and steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week over the long term is considered the safest way to lose weight and to keep it off permanently.

A low-calorie diet is essential,which is the key to reducing how many calories you take in.One must decide with their doctor or health care providers and he along with you can review you eating and drinking habits to see how many calories you consume and the amount you should cut back.Also by eating large portions of foods such as fruits,vegetables which are packed with much lesser calories than desserts,fats which are high in energy density.This in turn reduces hunger pans,take in fewer calories and will make one feel better about his/her meal.

A healthy eating plan is also essential to overcome obesity.One's eating plan must include eating more plan-based foods such as fruits,vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates.Also try to include fish twice a week along with limiting salt and added sugar.Small amount of fats must be consumed also along with sticking with low-fat dairy products.

One may become tempted by the early results of crash diets but the reality is that there are no quick fixes.Such a diet may help in the long run and one may become very happy with the results that such a large amount of weight was lost in such a short time, but the fact is that when you lose weight on a crash diet but you are more likely to regain it when you stop the diet.To lose weight and then keep it of you have to adopt healthy eating habits that you can maintain over time.

Other methods:

  • Weight loss surgery

In some cases weight loss surgery is also an option.It offers the best chance to lose the most weight but with can pose serious risks.It limits the amount of food one is comfortably able to eat or decreases the absorption of food and calories or both.However it isn't the best cure and there is no guarantee that you won't regain the weight in the long term.It success depends on the fact that if one is committed to make changes to his diet plan and keeps on exercising regularly after it.

  • Prescription weight-loss medication

Losing weight although requires a healthy and balanced that coupled with regular exercise but in some cases prescription weight loss medication might help.One important thing to keep in mind regarding it is that it is to be used along with diet,exercise and behaviour changes,not instead of them.If you don't make these changes in your life,medication is unlikely to work.

It may be recommended if other methods of weight loss haven't worked for someone or one's body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater and if your BMI is greater that 27 and you also have medical complications of obesity such as diabetes,high blood pressure or sleep apnea.


Obesity Facts

  • Obesity is difficult to treat and has a high relapse rate.Greater than 95% of those who lose weight regain the weight within five years.
  • Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration.It is a chronic medical disease that can lead to diabetes,high blood pressure,heart diseases and other chronic diseases.
  • Even a modest weight loss of 5%-10% of initial weight and the long term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health benefits by lowering blood pressure and lowering the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
  • The chances of long term successful weight loss are enhanced if the doctor works with a team of professionals,including die-tans, psychologists and exercise professionals.
  • Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.Over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese and one in three Americans is obese.
  • Obesity has also been increasing throughout the world,and the incidence of obesity nearly doubled from 1991 to 1998


We must all spread the aware-ness regarding this important issue as Obesity is one of the biggest and most serious health issues of the 21st century.In every country,every year the rate is rising and this has to be taken seriously and we all must make a concentrated effort to spread awareness among people of it's life threatening consequences and to make the world better as a whole.It significantly reduces life expectancy, and i for one am sure that every one understands the need to stay healthy and fit.For all those who are currently suffering from this problem,please take steps in order to cure it,rather than regretting later on.It is one of the leading preventable cause of death world wide and if early precaution is taken it will help in avoiding serious consequences.We all love our families so at least for that sake, those who suffering from it must act quickly and be healthy wealthy and live happily.


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    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you so much for liking it and appreciating it:)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Glad you liked it!Thankyou

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 5 years ago from Southern California

      Very well done and a belated welcome to Hubpages!!

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you for such wonderful,appreciative and helpful comments.Glad you liked it:)Thanks for taking your time out and commenting on the hub too.I'll definitely make use of the suggestion you made.Thanks for the share too!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wonderful article and very useful. Held my attention from the beginning to the end. Rated up and U/I and shared.

      One suggestion: credit the source of your photos and tables used. :)


    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan


      Yes you're spot on.It's a big factor.I'll check out your hub too.By the thanks for stopping by and commenting:)

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      very excellent points. we must all be aware of our bodies to achieve a healthy life.. obesity is a serious issue and not to be ignored.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Another cause of obesity is consuming too much sugar and high-carb process foods that turns into sugar. I wrote about why sugar causes weight gain here....

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you for taking your time out and commenting on my hub. appreciate it:)This is a very serious issue and more and more people need to be aware of it!

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      mmsu, enjoyed the hub on obesity. Voted up and shared. Thanks for the follow.

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      2Peggy W

      The world needs to be more aware of this important issue.Thank you for dropping by and commenting on the hub:)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @Thelma Alberts

      Glad you liked it.You are totally right about the fact that it's easier said than it's done.It takes a lot of commitment and hard work,which many don't seem bothered to without realizing it's consequences.Thank you for your nice comment:)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Voted up and useful. You have given very valid reasons why we should all pay more attention to living a healthy lifestyle with this hub on obesity.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Very well written about obesity. It is very hard to solve this problem. One should change his/her eating lifestyle by eating more fruits and vegetables. But I know: It´s easier said than done. Thanks for sharing and for following me. Voted up and useful;-)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Hahaha nice one!!I don't understand how people can even think like that!!They are just too careless.United states has probably the highest rate in terms of it and lately the percentage is increasing in my country too.

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      I heard someone say "You only live once" about their terrible diet and i just thought... yeah you only live once and at the rate your going, that once wont even be long either.

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @Lady E

      Yes it's definitely on the increase and quite fast too.But it's better to overcome it with a healthy diet and exercise,but if certain conditions are prevalent as i mentioned above.What happens is that if those conditions arise then you consult with your doctor and plan it out.Thanks for stopping by and commenting:)We need more awareness!

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan


      Seriously Cahill,nice point you make.I was really surprised to find out that people don't seem to care and are not aware of the consequences.This is a very serious issue and people need to be aware of it.The other day i overheard a group of people talking about their weights but were least bothered which is very sad to see.

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @Midget 38

      One of the reasons for me writing regarding it was to make more and more people aware of it and you guys would do well to spread it around in any way.I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it and commenting on it:)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful as it's on the increase. Interesting to know there is prescription weight loss medication.

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      Great Hub, packed with good info.

      I think people don't take it as seriously as they should do, some people even pride themselves on being obese but when you look at the potential outcomes and health complications, its difficult to see how and why

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan


      United states probably has the biggest problem in terms of Obesity.The other day i was reading regarding my Country that there has been an increase in the ratio of Obesity patients from the year 2011 on-wards and i was worried.We all need to be more aware and make others aware as many people take it lightly.

      It's good to hear that you take less calories.My suggestion to you would be to just follow a balanced diet,have regular exercise and there will be nothing to worry about.Thank you for commenting on the hub:)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @ MsDora

      I just want the world to be a much more healthier place!!Thank you for taking your time out and reading my hub.Also thanks a lot for your kind words.appreciate it:)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @ Victoria Lynn

      I just read about this ever-increasing problem the other day and decided that i should use my knowledge,coupled with a bit of research to write regarding it.I just want more and more people to be aware o f it and take proper precautions.Glad you liked it:)

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      @Sonny Hodgin I am glad you liked it and found it very useful.Appreciate you checking out my hub and commenting on it:)

      Will surely write more articles in this area in the future Inshallah.

    • JoanCA profile image

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      I've never been overweight but one thing I did to ensure I wouldn't have a weight problem is I largely stopped drinking calories. I occasionally have soda or juice. I drink tea everyday with a small amount of cream. My weight actually fell a lot after doing this and I'm now a little underweight. Many people drink hundreds of calories everyday between soda, juice and alcohol.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      A useful one, Mmsu. The reasons for obesity are well outlined and the solutions clear. I'm voting up, and will share's so important for others to know as it's becoming a huge problem worldwide.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up and Useful. You presented the problem and the solution very clearly. Thanks for these well-written reminders.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is a very thorough look at a huge (pun unintended!) problem. You lay it out very well. Well done!

    • sonnyhodgin profile image

      Sonny Hodgin 5 years ago from Indiana

      That's a really well written article. I like it. Voted up, useful, and interesting!

      You should write some more articles in this area!

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice to hear that your BMI has reduced!!You just need to keep up the good work.About the picture you are right this is happening way too much and one of the reasons i decided to write this in order to increase awareness.By the way thanks for your comment:)Appreciate it!

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 5 years ago from Virginia

      Lots of great information here....sadly the one picture of the kid eating chips in front of the tv is something that is happening way to often. I have not been a fan of the BMI as it seems to have issues the taller you get....but I think being skinny is way better for your body than being bigger. Over the last year I have changed my diet.....and have gone from a BMI 0f 29 to a BMI of 24....and I can tell you I feel so much better....great hub thanks for sharing ...voted up and useful.

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      It is really good that you are eating healthier food and exercising along with it to overcome your problem.The only thing you need to do now is not give up and just like you said continue to maintain it for the rest of your life.By the way thanks for stopping by and reading it:)

    • LadyLola profile image

      Lanie Robinson 5 years ago from Canada

      Very, very useful article. It is all about having a healthy lifestyle and not to focus so much on 'dieting'. I have been gaining about two pounds every year since I was pregnant and so my problem kind of snuck up on me. I didn't immediately lose the weight I gained from being pregnant and my metabolism must be slowing down as I get older. I eat healthier food and exercise 4 or 5 times per week now since I got my head out of the sand. I expect to continue to do so for the rest of my life and not for the short term.


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