Obesity and Your Health
Obesity is a chronic disease that can put us at risk of other serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Now that about two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, the problem has become an epidemic, but it is often difficult to lose weight due to the many factors involved in weight gain.
Despite the challenges, many people can overcome obesity and the health problems associated with it by seeking help and making long-term lifestyle changes.
How Do We Become Obese?
Obesity is a multifactorial condition that can be influenced by our lifestyle, hormones, body composition and genetics. It is much more complicated than simply eating too much.
Factors that can influence the development of obesity include:
The modern American diet is high in refined carbohydrates like white flour, sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Eating large quantities of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, increases insulin levels and tells the body to store fat.
Hormones affect the functioning of the thyroid, which is responsible for regulating body mass. Imbalances of sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone can cause the body to gain more belly fat.
Fatty tissue, especially in the belly, increases inflammation in the body. In addition to putting us at risk of serious medical conditions, this inflammation tells our bodies to store even more fat, perpetuating the problem.
Though obesity is primarily caused by factors within our control, some genetic factors outside our control can also be contributors. Some people have a genetic makeup that makes weight retention more likely.
How Does Obesity Affect Us?
Obesity can affect every system throughout the body and play a role in almost every chronic disease. This is due in part to the inflammation caused by fatty tissue in the body.
The most common obesity-related health problems include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea and other breathing problems
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Some forms of cancer
Such health problems can lead to a diminished quality of life for those suffering from obesity. Excess weight can also limit your lifestyle by making it harder to accomplish many physical tasks. Many obese people also experience emotional problems like low self-esteem and depression due to their weight.
Though obesity is a complicated disease with many detrimental effects, committing to lifestyle changes that help you maintain a healthy weight can make it possible to overcome obesity, reduce the risk of weight-related conditions and develop a more fulfilling way of life.