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What is Obesity?

Obesity is one of the chronic conditions and is a risk factor for many other chronic conditions.
Obesity is expanding at an alarming rate as a major health concern throughout the world.
Obesity, one of the chronic conditions is caused by various factors. One or more of the below mentioned factors may cause obesity.

  • Energy Imbalance: Obesity happens gradually if the amount of energy or calories you consume is more than the amount of energy spent on your daily activities.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: People leading an inactive or sedentary lifestyle are more likely to become obese as they do not burn down the calories they consume.
  • Environmental factors: Lack of safe places for exercising and walking (sidewalks or parks), busy work schedule, eating larger food portions, and junk food are contributing factors to gain weight.
  • Family history: The genes inherited from your parents have an effect the amount of fat stored in your body and your chances of being obese is higher if one or both your parents are obese. Obesity tends to run in families.
  • Disease conditions: Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome may cause weight gain.
  • Medicines: Certain medicines such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and seizure medications are known to decrease the rate of metabolism, increase your appetite and retain excess water in the body leading to weight gain.
  • Emotional factors: Unusual eating habits such as excessive eating when under stress or anger. Overeating will cause weight gain.
  • Age: Aging results in muscle loss in the body which is even more if you are inactive. Muscle loss reduces the calorie consumption and consequently uncontrolled diet may increase the chances of becoming obese.

Consequences

If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have the following health consequences:

Major health consequences

  • Premature death (shorter life expectancy): Obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of premature death
  • Obese people have more risk for heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers (breast, uterine, colon), breathing difficulties (e.g., sleep apnea, asthma), arthritis, pregnancy complications, gall bladder problems, urinary incontinence, depression and digestive disorders (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Risks to psychological and social well-being

  • Negative self-image
  • Social isolation
  • Discrimination

Difficulties with day-to-day living

  • Normal tasks become harder when you are obese
  • You tend to tire more quickly and you find yourself short of breath
  • Public transport seats, telephone booths, and cars may be too small for you
  • You may find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene

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