What is Obesity?

What is obesity? In terms of overweight teens and adults, obesity is often considered the physical disease of being severely overweight. Obesity is the excess proportion of total body fat. That means, depending on your bone structure, height and muscle mass, obesity can mean different things.

About 17 percent of children and teens are considered to be obese. Having a clear idea of what obesity is and how to stop it from continuing to be a major factor in serious health issues like heart disease, is important so parents can make better decisions regarding their children's health. Usually obesity is determined by health care professionals when a person's weight is 20 percent or more about normal weight. This can often be determined by measuring a person's Body Mass Index (BMI). Morbid obesity occurs when the person's weight exceeds over 50 to 100 percent over what is considered normal, or if they have a BMI of 40 or higher. When obesity gets to this morbid level, it usually is impacting the health and way of life for the individual.

Some of the signs of obesity and morbid obesity include loss of energy, depression, health issues like difficulty walking, sore joints, headaches, dehydration, excess sweating, heart palpitations while sitting, inability to move much, etc. Some of the biggest health risks people take when their weight reaches obese levels is heart disease/failure and high cholesterol, which can also lead to other heart issues. 

Causes of Obesity:

Unfortunately there is really not a single reason that causes obesity. It is a pretty complex disease that has several factors that can lead a person to become obese. It is also important to note that obesity is different for each person. Some can eat extra amounts of unhealthy foods their entire life, but still maintain a healthy weight. Others struggle to keep the weight off even when eating healthy. While an unhealthy diet of too much empty calories and lack of exercise are two of the biggest causes of obesity, family history and genetics can also play a huge role in whether or not a person is prone to obesity. However, regardless of any of these factors, obesity can be cured with some or a lot of work. It all depends on the person, and unfortunately there are some out there that have to work more diligently than others and keeping those pounds at bay.

Age is also one of the factors that can cause obesity. The older a person gets, the slower their metabolism is likely to move. A lot of this has to do with people moving around less the older they get. Gender is also another factor of obesity. Women are likely to become more overweight than their male counterparts. Men often have a higher metabolic rate than women, which means they are able to consume more calories and burn them at a higher rate than women can. Other physical factors also might play a role like illness, injury or medication. If a person is laid up from an injury, they are less likely to be able to work out or be active in burning those calories. Some medications can also cause a person to retain more weight. Psychological factors are huge causes of obesity. Many with depression or anxiety rely on the psychological effects they get from eating foods to feel better about themselves. 

How to Prevent Teen Obesity:

First, those who need to make healthier life style choices to prevent childhood and teen obesity from transcending into adulthood need to make a conscious attitude change about weight management and healthy living. Once the person has made that choice to change their entire lifestyle, and not just go on a fad diet, they are likely to see the long-term results of weight loss. This is a tough road, and for most obese individuals it can be difficult throughout their entire lives. Some may need to join a support group for healthy eating and exercise to gain that motivation they need to lose weight. That is part of the reason so many programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are so powerful at helping people lose weight and keep the weight off for years. Making an effort to change entire eating habits through scheduled eating meals and snacking can help start the road to weight loss. Getting regular exercise, at least 20 to 30 minutes each day, is vital to help lose weight successful and to build muscle, which can help speed of the metabolism and increase weight loss. 

Sources: livestrong.com, webmd.com

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