Obesity is spreading really fast causing a mass of physical and psychological issues or even deaths. It is already a splitting headache for an astonishing number of people. Let alone the US with 30.6 % of obese people and Mexico following with 24.2%. However, it is not only a problem of the Americas. Obesity is sweeping all across Europe. The United Kingdom is leading with 23% of obese residents, next in line is Slovakia with 22.4 % and Greece – 21%. We are not talking overweight. Obesity may put your life in danger. As a person fails to manage his weight, his life also seems to spin out of control.
Where is this line between being overweight and being obese? In terms of the international measuring system Body Mass Index (BMI), a person is considered overweight when the BMI is over 25, while obesity is diagnosed when BMI is over 30. Obesity is a complex issue rooted deep down in the culture, lifestyle, genetics and is also caused by other factors.
Medical studies have found the correlation between weight and the previous generations. Let’s say if your parents and grandparents struggled with weight there is a high chance that later in life you will also have this issue. However, it is not a verdict, therefore one should not put all the blame on genes.
In rare cases you might have a medical disorder which affects your weight. For instance:
Due to activity restrictions
Increased concentration of adrenal gland hormones. The first symptoms of this disorder appear after birth and are visible in external reproductive organs, rapid growth, early puberty. Later there is a high incidence of hypertension and obesity due to high levels of steroids.
Leptin is a hormone reducing the sensation of appetite. Usually, the concentration of this substance increases after meals and inhibits appetite center in the central nervous system. The symptoms of leptin deficiency include excessive eating, obesity, high concentrations of insulin and increased susceptibility to infections.
However, these disorders are quite rare and are diagnosed in early age so there is a possibility to prevent further progression of obesity. Although it is important to know about the mentioned medical disorders, treating such children does not solve the whole problem.
Obesity is caused by an excessive consumption of calories, in other words when you eat more than you need. These extra calories that are not used to produce energy accumulate as fat in your body, therefore weight increases. To be more specific, on average 500 excessive calories a day will result in an extra 0.5 kilogram per week.
You may wonder why weight seems to grow or at best stay the same even if you follow a well-balanced diet and do not neglect physical activity. Doctors suggest looking closer at your sleeping habits and the way you cope with stress. Naturally, the body operates best when it gets enough of rest, therefore when you lack sleep your body gets in a stressful mode and due to biochemical reactions it stores fat quicker. Also when a person is tired, stress may be a tough issue to handle and many people use food as a means to cope with it. Next time, you catch yourself snacking at night, ask yourself whether it is the best way to deal with stress. Do you really need those extra calories? Setting up regular habits and sleeping for at least 8 hours may significantly help to manage the weight.
Interestingly, the environment also has an impact on how much you eat. For example, a number of scientific studies have proved that you will eat more if food is placed in a large plate. It is a psychological trick. The same amount will look different if it is placed in a small and a large plate. You might be tricked that the portion is small, but you will consume more calories than usual. The same is applicable to the food packages. It is claimed that you will save money buying large packages but unconsciously you will eat more.
Doctors call it eating amnesia. It is associated with our habit to accomplish several tasks at the same time. Eating and multitasking should not go together because eventually you stop paying attention to what you eat and the amount you eat. As you easily get distracted a simple dinner may end in overeating. On the other hand, eating slowly and enjoying every bite will bring more satisfaction.
Obesity may also be fuelled by substances called obesogens which are often included in various foods. They confuse the system that regulates your weight and increase the amount of fatty tissue while diminishing calories that you burn. The examples of obesogens.
Bisphenol A – a chemical substance found in lining of food or drinking cans which easily might leak into food itself. It has a huge effect on the development of metabolic syndrome (the group of comorbidities where obesity is included).
Phthalates –found in fragrances and other products used at home. It affects mostly boys by reducing testosterone levels in blood and causing central obesity.
Dioxins – a product of burning. Exposure to it might cause a severe metabolic syndrome.
You can take control over a number of factors contributing to weight gain. Consider these key steps that are proven to help manage weight issues.