Obesity is an immensely complex malady involving an extreme quantity of body fat. Frequently, it is described plainly as a state of anomalous or excessive accumulation of fat within the adipose tissue, to the magnitude that an individual’s health could be impaired (Flier, 2004). Indeed, being tremendously obese indicates that an individual is likely to encounter health complications that are related to their weight. This is because this underlying malady is a repercussion of the progressive energy imbalance alongside weight gain.
Obese persons differ both in the quantity of the excess accumulated fat and the regional distribution of this fat within their body. Besides, the risks accompanying obesity are influenced by the fat distribution that has been stimulated by weight gain. For instance, the people with the abdominal distribution of fat are at an increased risk as compared to individuals with the less severe distribution of fat that is peripherally and more evenly distributed around the body (Flier, 2004; Worthington & Gilbert, 2012).
Consequently, obese individuals are more prospective to develop other potentially critical health complications comprising hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, breathing disorders that incorporate sleep apnea, gynecological complications that encompass irregular periods and infertility, non-alcoholic fatty liver disorder, sexual health complications like erectile dysfunction, metabolic syndromes, and cancer that encompass cancer of the cervix, uterus, breast, ovaries, endometrium, liver, rectum, colon, esophagus, prostate, kidney, gallbladder and pancreas.
The Etiology of Obesity
While there exist genetic, hormonal, and behavioral impacts on body weight, the main cause of obesity is inactivity, eating habits, and an unhealthy diet. Generally, obesity transpires when a person takes in extra calories than those they burn through conventional daily activities and physical exercise. These extra calories are then stored by the body as fat and their excessive accumulation causes obesity. Besides, medical conditions could at other times result in obesity. Such causes may include Cushing’s syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome alongside other disorders and complications like arthritis that reduced activity. These disorders, however, are rare and are, therefore, regarded as trivial causes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
The combination of contributing factors and causes that frequently result in obesity encompasses genetics, certain medications, age, economic and social issues, sleep, quitting smoking, pregnancy, family lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and inactivity. Firstly, a person’s gene could impact the quantity of body fat which the person stores alongside the region of fat distribution. Moreover, genetics could influence the efficiency of a person’s body converting food to energy besides the manner within which that body consumes the calories when exercising.
Similarly, certain medications could result in weight gain when an individual does not compensate through activity or diet. Such medications incorporate beta-blockers, steroids, anti-seizure medications, some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and diabetes medications. Furthermore, quitting smoking frequently is accompanied by weight gain, which progressively can lead to obesity although it is of greater benefit than abiding to smoke.
Moreover, obesity can transpire at any age including early childhood. However, as a person ages, hormonal alterations accompanied by a less active lifestyle could intensify their risk of obesity. Additionally, the intensity of muscles in a person’s body tends to decline with age. The reduced muscle mass results in a decline in medication. These alterations lower the calorie needs too, and could make it harder to restrain excess weight. Thus, when such individuals become less physically active and do not consciously regulate what they consume, they are likely to gain weight (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
Additionally, studies have connected economic and social aspects to obesity. Evading obesity, for instance, is strenuous when a person has no safe exercising area. Likewise, a person might not have been coached on the healthy techniques of cooking or they may lack the money to purchase healthier foods. Moreover, the people that a person spends time with could impact their weight as they tend to participate in similar activities. This insinuates that a person is increasingly probable to be obese when that person has obese relatives or friends.
Further, obesity in women can ensue due to pregnancy since during pregnancy their weight essentially increases, and, for some women, it becomes difficult to shed off the weight even after delivery (Flier, 2004). Similarly, Flier (2004) adds that inadequate or excessive sleep could lead to hormone alterations that intensify a person’s appetite. This could cause a person to crave foods that are high in carbohydrates and calories, which could cause weight gain.
Additionally, family lifestyle may be one of the reasons for the development of obesity. This happens not due to genetics but because of the shared activities and eating habits. Thus, individuals with one or both parents with obesity have an increased risk of the disease. Besides, a sedentary lifestyle could make an individual take in more calories daily than they can burn. Besides, a high-calorie diet that is lacking in vegetables and fruits, is filled with fast food, and overloaded with high-calorie drinks alongside oversized portions leads to weight gain. This weight gain, when accompanied by reduced activity rate, results in excessive obesity.
Prevention of Obesity
As already discussed, it is evident that eating habits and the degree of activeness tend to lead to weight gain, which progresses to obesity. This, therefore, implies that monitoring eating habits and the extent of activeness can aid in the prevention of obesity. Firstly, a consistent level of activeness could aid an individual to burn a good quantity of calories and reduce the extent of fat accumulation. Besides, eating habits have a major impact on evading obesity. Consuming a healthy diet with the right level of calories could warrant an individual is taking in the acceptable quantity of calories based on their age, energy demand, and metabolic rate.
Thus, an individual should visit a doctor and be assisted in determining what shall constitute a healthy diet that suits them. The recommended diet should have vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and foods with moderate calorie content in the right portion in order to control weight gain and inhibit obesity. The individual also needs to monitor their weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), and ensure that they are within the acceptable range, which should not be out of the ideal body weight level. To achieve the prevention of obesity, there is a need for behavior alteration to enable the individual to make adequate transformations for his/her activity and eating habits.
Prevention of obesity is also significant after an obesity treatment because it is especially common to gain weight regardless of the treatment method employed. Thus, for such individuals, it is important that they utilize some of the best practices to abet weight gain through participation in regular exercise activity, which can be executed an hour daily. Additionally, such individuals could overcome obesity by studying their conditions, setting pragmatic goals, adhering to their treatment plan and medication, enlisting support, keeping activity records, identifying and dodging food triggers, and lastly being consistent with their commitment to controlling their weight.
Treatment of Obesity
The treatment of obesity has a similar goal to its prevention, which encompasses being within a healthy weight range. The treatment of obesity utilizes tools that contain behavior change, weight loss surgery, weight loss medications, dietary changes alongside activity and exercise. These treatment tools suit individuals based on the extent of obesity, overall health, and their cooperation to partake in their weight-loss plan.
Firstly, behavior change is a program that aids an individual in executing lifestyle modification that shall empower them to lose weight and manage it within a healthy range. This treatment commences by identifying the factors that resulted in obesity. It encompasses counseling and support groups. The counseling is aimed at addressing behavioral and emotional concerns. The counseling and support groups operate simultaneously in enabling individuals to monitor their diet, activity, and even comprehend their eating triggers.
Similarly, weight-loss surgery is an option that limits the quantity of food that an individual is capable of eating comfortably or reducing the assimilation of calories and food. Though this option provides the best opportunity for weight loss, it could present severe risks (Worthington & Gilbert, 2012). Thus, it could be regarded as the last option after the unsuccessful execution of the other options in losing weight. It comprises a gastric bypass operation, gastric sleeve, biliopancreatic diversion, and laparoscopic variable gastric banding.
Equally, weight-loss medication could assist in weight loss and has to be accompanied by behavior, diet, and exercise modification. This option is suitable for individuals with sleep apnea, hypertension, or diabetes. Prior to picking a medication, the doctor has to consider a patient’s health history alongside the probable side effects. The commonly prescribed medications incorporate liraglutide, lorcaserin, topiramate and phentermine, naltrexone and bupropion, and orlistat. However, this option does not work for everyone and its effect could degenerate over time.
Furthermore, dietary changes are significant in overcoming obesity through calorie reduction and implementing healthier feeding habits. The safest manner of weight loss is steady, slow, and long-term weight loss that keeps obesity off permanently. Surprisingly, there is no best diet for weight loss, therefore, it is vital to pick a diet that will work for you that is based on the recommended diet that was already discussed. The dietary modification treatment encompasses cutting calories, implementing healthier choices, meal replacement, restricting specific foods, and feeling satisfied with less (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
Besides, activity and exercise at an increased level are significant in obesity treatment. Worthington (2012) portrays that majority of individuals who partake in regular exercise are capable of maintaining their weight loss even by simply walking for a period exceeding a year. The simple techniques of boosting an individual’s activity are exercise and moving (Worthington & Gilbert, 2012). The latter is suitable for individuals who prefer burning calories beyond the customary aerobic exercise by executing it throughout the day. Customary aerobic is an effective method of burning calories and shedding extra weight. An obese person demands a minimum of 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity bodily activity. This duration should be gradually increased as the individual’s fitness and endurance improves to accomplish heftier weight loss.
Flier, J. S. (2004). Obesity wars: Molecular progress confronts an expanding epidemic. Cell, 116(2), 337-350.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (2002). The practical guide identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. (1st ed., pp. 1-32). National Institute of Health. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/prctgd_c.pdf.
Worthington, P. & Gilbert, K. (2012). Parenteral nutrition. Journal of Infusion Nursing, 35(1), 52-64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/nan.0b013e31823b98ef.