Overweight and Obesity

WHAT IS IT?

Obesity and overweight are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. Statistically, a BMI of 25 and over is considered to be overweight while a BMI of 30 or above is considered to be obese. Obesity can increase the risk for certain types of cancer such as breast, colon, and liver, and increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke. Obesity and overweight are also associated with diabetes and related conditions due to increased amounts of fatty acids and and inflammation, both of which can lead to insulin resistance. According to the CDC, 73.6% of adults aged 20 were overweight and/or obese.


CAUSES

Causes of overweight and obesity include physical inactivity, a diet that is high in carbohydrates and high-sugar foods. Genetics can also play a significant factor in causing overweight and obesity. A lesser-known cause of these conditions include psychological factors such as mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. There are also medical conditions (PCOS, hypothyroidism) and medications (antidepressants, corticosteroids) that can increase risk for and cause obesity and overweight.

PREVENTION

Prevention for overweight and obesity typically include a change in diet and physical activity. Individuals often increase their daily intake of legumes, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and decrease the amount of food they eat with high levels of fat or sugar. Exercising for an hour each day for children and 150 minutes per week for adults. Drinking plenty of water is also very important in order to decrease risk for overweight and obesity—around half an ounce to an ounce per pound you weigh is the recommended water intake for individuals.


TREATMENT

When treating obesity and overweight, it is vital to remember that the goal is to reach a healthier weight, and not necessarily a specific weight goal. Furthermore, because weight can play a large factor in body image and satisfaction with how one looks, individuals need to take care of their mental health while working on physical health because the two can go hand in hand, and having intrinsic motivation to work on overweight and obesity in order to be healthier in the long term is important.


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