Obesity: Causes and Effects

In simple terms, obesity is the amalgamation of excess fat in the body. Obesity can degrade the individual’s health and also reduce the life expectancy. Body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether an individual is obese or not. A BMI score of 25 to 29.9 means overweight, above 30 means obese and score of above 40 means morbid obesity. It is a complex health issue and the causes range can be both individual and environmental.

It is also a serious matter as it is related to poor mental health, some forms of cancer reduced the quality of life and are the leading cause of death in the US.

Causes

  1. Genes: Genes change very slowly over a long duration of time. It gives the body instructions on the environmental changes. Research says that genes can have a crucial impact leading to the condition by influencing an increased hunger and food ingestion. Health care specialists pay special attention to family records to anticipate the rise of any serious illness.
  2. Environment: Living in a neighborhood where junk food is easily accessible gives rise to this concerning disorder in the dwellers. This is most popular in societies of low-income people where people eat high-calorie food and do not exercise regularly. Children are prone to obesity by falling prey to the marketing techniques of junk food producers.
  3. Risk factors: These include unhealthy diet, untimely eating, history of obesity in the family, bad sleep habits, economic status, insufficient exercising, etc.
  4. Diseases and Drugs: Obesity can be a side-effect of some drugs. Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome can also cause obesity. Steroids and anti-depressants contribute to obesity. The science behind the role of diseases and drugs is still a work in progress, and more developments are yet to be made.

Effects

  1. Health: The condition gives rise to many adverse health complications like a pain in joints and the back, digestive problems, cancer, hypertension, sleep apnea, ulcers, type 2 diabetes, etc.
  2. Economic: Obesity impacts the economy of a country. Medical costs may include both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are the prevention and treatment of obesity and its health effects; indirect costs are morbidity and mortality costs.
  3. Psychological: An obese person may fall into depression. In a world where looks matter, obese people are made fun of and discriminated. Obese people are found to earn less and have fewer relationships because of their condition; this takes a toll on their mentality.

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