What is Obesity?
Obesity is metabolic syndrome characterized by deposition of excess fat in the adipose tissue distributed various parts of the body which ultimately causes fatness and Ugly looking. It is socio economic hazard makes physical and mental disharmony.
It is a disease that affects more than one-third of the U.S. adult population (approximately 78.6 million Americans). The number of Americans with obesity has steadily increased since 1960, a trend that has slowed in recent years but shows no sign of reversing. Today, 69 percent of U.S. adults are categorized as being affected by obesity or having excess weight.
According to the CDC, an estimated 112,000 excess deaths per year are associated with obesity. Obesity puts individuals at risk for more than 30 chronic health conditions. They include: type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, gallstones, heart disease, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, GERD, stress incontinence, heart failure, degenerative joint disease, birth defects, miscarriages, asthma and other respiratory conditions, and numerous cancers.
The healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $190 billion per year. Discrimination and mistreatment of person with obesity is widespread and, sadly, often considered socially acceptable.
Obesity is increasing around the world. High body mass index now ranks with major global health problems such as childhood and maternal under-nutrition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unsafe sex, iron deficiency, smoking, alcohol and unsafe water in total global burden of disease.
According to WHO
- Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
- In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
- 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
- Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.
- Obesity is preventable.
What are overweight and obesity?
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
For adults, WHO defines overweight and obesity as follows:
- overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and
- obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
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. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
For children, age needs to be considered when defining overweight and obesity.
Children under 5 years of age
For children under 5 years of age:
- overweight is weight-for-height greater than 2 standard deviations above WHO Child Growth Standards median; and
- obesity is weight-for-height greater than 3 standard deviations above the WHO Child Growth Standards median.
Children aged between 5–19 years
Overweight and obesity are defined as follows for children aged between 5–19 years:
- overweight is BMI-for-age greater than 1 standard deviation above the WHO Growth Reference median; and
- obesity is greater than 2 standard deviations above the WHO Growth Reference median.
Facts about overweight and obesity
Some recent WHO global estimates follow.
- In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these over 600 million adults were obese.
- Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014.
- In 2014, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight.
- The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014.
In 2014, an estimated 41 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese. Once considered a high-income country problem, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. In Africa, the number of children who are overweight or obese has nearly doubled from 5.4 million in 1990 to 10.6 million in 2014. Nearly half of the children under 5 who were overweight or obese in 2014 lived in Asia.
Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight. Globally there are more people who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
What causes obesity and overweight?
The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been:
- an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; and
- an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.
Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education.
What are common health consequences of overweight and obesity?
Raised BMI is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as:
- cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;