Obesity refers to having a lot of extra fat on his or her body. Globally, approximately a billion people are suffering from the problem of obesity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the main cause of obesity is when there is an imbalance between the amount of calorie consumption and expenditure. In many cases, a person will consume food that has many calories and spend very little energy. This is what causes body fat to build up. The excess calories that are consumed in the food are transformed to fat and accumulated in the body. Obesity is hard to treat because when an individual gains weight, there is a significant increase in fat cells. Once a fat cell has formed in the body, it is hard to get rid of it. This essay focuses on the causes of obesity, its effects, and how it can be detected.
One of the major causes of obesity is environment that promotes inactivity. The residential area and its features can influence a person’s lifestyle (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). In most urban places, there are few places for leisure and recreation. The expensive living conditions in cities and town have forced people to work for longer hours therefore limiting their times of exercising. The other factor is that multinational companies require people to put more into their work so that they can produce more. In most organizations, processes are automated thereby limiting manual work. For instance, the use of emails to communicate instead of physically walking to a co-worker’s desk limits physical activity. This makes people to accumulate a high amount of calories because the manual work is limited. Most urban buildings have lifts. People do not use the stairs unless there is an emergency.
Increase in crime and social alienation limits the use of the few leisure and recreation areas like swimming pools and path walks. This makes people to stay indoors, eat, and watch television. Increase in more accessible transport means has made people to stop walking, jogging or even cycling to work. People prefer to use cabs and personal cars to commute to work.
The other factor is age and gender. As people grow up, their rate of metabolism slows down. Interestingly, they eat constantly to have energy but their inactivity slows down. For instance, an 18-year old is active and has a high metabolic rate. If this person eats the same food at 40, ten they are likely to gain weight because they are less active. At the same time, men have a higher metabolic rate than women do. Males have more lean tissue (muscles) than women do. They spend more energy to maintain this tissue in comparison to women who have more fatty tissue. Recent studies have shown that in most females, the onset of menopause decrease their rates of metabolism. This has been linked to their significant weight gain after reaching menopause.
The education system is to blame for the increase in obesity among schoolchildren. The curriculum emphasizes more on good grades than physical education. The curriculum does not stress on the need to eat healthy. Fast food outlets and soft drinks have been left to advertise and vend in schools. This entices school going children who eat what is more accessible. This makes children to grow into a culture of fast foods and lack of exercise.
The genetic makeup of an individual can dictate the occurrence of obesity. Genes control energy storage and consumption. If a close family member had it, then one is more susceptible to obesity than those who do not have it in their family history (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
The other contributing factors are the psychological states of the body. When a person is stressed, they will eat huge amounts of food leading to a high intake of calories. This can lead to obesity. The other state is disease. Some diseases and syndromes can cause obesity. Prader-Willi syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing’s disease can cause considerable weight gain. Steroidal drugs can also cause weight gain. For example corticosteroids and some family planning pills.
Insomnia can also cause weight gain. People who sleep less have high levels of hormones that cause hunger. This makes them to consume more food that those people who sleep for about 8 hours. It has also been noted that individuals who quit smoking eat more than those who smoke. This is because nicotine inhibits a person’s appetite. Smokers who quit the habit of smoking tend to tend to eat more because of a good appetite and food smells nice.
Obesity leads to an increase in the blood pressure of an individual. High blood pressure results to headaches, kidney failure, strokes, nose bleeding, and excessive sweating (U.S Department of Health and Human Services). Obesity is a risk factor in diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, endometrial, kidney and prostate cancer. Presence of high amounts of fat in the body leads to an increase in fat that is deposited in veins and arteries. This makes an individual to be susceptible to heart diseases like congestive heart failure, heart attack, and chest pains. Other problems related to obesity are strokes and narrowing of arteries.
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Obesity in a person is established by determining the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s body weight by his height. The normal weight of a healthy person ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight and obsess individuals have a BMI of 25 and above. It is important to note that a person’s BMI reflects his or her lifestyle. Regular checks of BMI can make a person to tame his habits and thus control weight. It is advisable to go to a doctor for regular BMI