Overweight is a big problem in 21st century.When we eat more calories than we burn, our bodies keep this extra energy like fat. While a few extra pounds may not seem like a big deal, they can increase your chances of having high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. These conditions can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Today, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese. More than a third of adults have obesity. This information sheet will help you to find out if you are at risk of developing health problems related to weight gain. It will also explain how overweight and obesity is treated and give you ideas for improving your health with any weight.
How can I tell if I’m in normal weight?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is one way to tell if you are in normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI measures your weight in relation to your height.
The BMI chart below will help you find your BMI score. Find your height in inches in the left column labeled “Height”. Scroll through the order to your weight. The number of the top of the column is BMI for that height and weight. The pounds are rounded. You can also go to the section Additional Links at the end of this page for a link to an online BMI measurement tool.
BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and someone with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
However, since the BMI does not measure the actual body fat, a person who is very muscular, as a bodybuilder, can have a high BMI without having too much fat in the body.
Why people are gaining weight?
Our bodies need a lot of calories to keep us active. But to maintain weight, we need a balance between the taking energy and the energy we use. When someone eats and drinks more calories than it burns, the energy balance helps increase body weight, overweight, and obesity. The point of rollover to which the calories that come and calorie exits go out of balance and lead to weight gain may vary from one to another.
What other factors are involved?
Your genes, the world around you and other factors can affect weight gain. Learn how to address these factors in the section “How can I improve my health?”
Studies show that obesity tends to run in families, suggesting that genes can contribute to obesity. Families also share eating habits and lifestyle habits that can affect weight. However, it is possible to manage your weight, even if obesity is common in your family.
Everywhere around you
Where people live, play and work can also strongly affect their weight. Think about the fact that the rates of obesity were lower 30 years ago. Since then our genetic makeup has not changed, but our world has.
The world around us affects access to healthy food and places to go and be active in many ways:
- Many people drive instead of going.
- Many people eat ordered food instead of cooking, which can lead to eating more calories.
- Most vending machines do not offer low-calorie low-fat snacks.
Overweight and obesity effect people everywhere. But people with low-income may face even bigger barriers to eating healthy foods and be active than other people. High-calorie processed foods often cost less than healthier, such as fruits salads and vegetables. There may also be several safe, free or cheap places nearby to be active on a regular basis. These factors can contribute to weight gain.
A person’s culture can also affect body weight. Some cultures have high-fat foods or sugar, which makes it difficult to manage weight. Family events where people eat large amounts of food can make it difficult to control the parts.
Studies show that lack of sleep is associated with overweight and obesity. Recent studies have shown that sleeping can lessen weight loss. In these studies, adults who were trying to lose weight and who slept less ate more calories and enjoyed more.
Certain medicines can cause weight gain. Steroids and some medicines to treat depression or other mental health problems can make you burn calories slower or you feel hungry. Make sure your healthcare provider knows all the medicines you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements). He or she may suggest another drug that has less effect on weight.
Is my body important?
Health workers are concerned not only about how many body fat people have, but also where fat is found on the body.
Women tend to collect fat in hips and buttocks, giving them a “pear” shape.
Men usually build fat around the stomachs, giving them a larger form of “apple”.
Of course, some men are pears and some women are shaped like apple, especially after menopause.
Extra fat tissue around your environment may put you at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems – even if you have normal weight. Your provider can help you assess your risk.
What problems are associated with excess weight?
Exaggeration can increase the risk of several health problems. It can also contribute to emotional and social problems.
Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer are some of the overweight related diseases. Obese men are more likely than other men to develop bowel cancer, rectum, or prostate cancer. Obese women are more likely than other women to develop breast cancer (after menopause), gallbladder, uterus, or cervix. Cancer of the esophagus (the tube carrying food and fluids in the stomach) may also be related to obesity.
Other diseases and health problems associated with excess weight include
- breathing problems, including sleep apnea
- fatty liver disease (also called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH) 1
- gallbladder disease and gallstones
- pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy), high blood pressure, and increased risk of cesarean section (C-section)
Emotional and social effects
Excess weight can also contribute to emotional suffering. Physical beauty and what looks like a person are highly valued in society. People who may not respect the view of the beauty society because of their weight can be considered less attractive.
Also, since some people in our culture can look at a person with obesity as a lack of will, people with obesity may face limited options in the labor market, in school, and in social situations. They may feel rejected, ashamed or depressed.
Who Should Lose Weight?
Health workers generally agree that people who are considered obese (have a BMI of 30 or more) can improve their health by losing weight.
If you are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9), experts recommend avoiding extra weight. If you are overweight and have other risk factors (see below), weight loss can reduce these risks. Experts recommend that you try to lose weight if you have two or more of the following:
Familial history of certain chronic diseases. If you have close relatives who have had illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes, you may be more likely to develop these problems.
Pre-existing medical problems. High blood pressure, high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, low levels of cholesterol with high HDL (cholesterol), high triglycerides (Hypertriglyceridemia) and high blood sugar ( diabetes) are warning signs of some diseases related to obesity.
Large size of the waist. Men who have halves larger than 40 inches and women with halves larger than 35 inches are at higher risk of diabetes, unhealthy fatty blood (high cholesterol and triglycerides), high blood pressure and heart disease.
Fortunately, losing a small amount of weight can help you improve your health. This weight loss can reduce blood pressure and improve other risk factors.
For example, studies have shown that people at high risk for type 2 diabetes who lose a modest amount of weight and increase their physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes
How to treat overweight and obesity?
The best way to control your weight may depend on how much weight you have, your overall health, and how ready you are to change your eating habits and physical activity. In some cases, if lifestyle changes do not lead to enough weight loss to improve your health, doctors may recommend additional treatment, including weight loss medicines.
In some cases of extreme obesity, doctors may recommend biathoric surgery. More information on bariatric surgery is provided in the health topic NIDDK, Bariatric surgery for severe obesity.
How can I improve my health?
Although you can not change your genes, you can work on changing your eating habits, levels of physical activity, and other factors. Try the ideas below. Get regular physical activity
Try these tips to start or maintain an exercise program:
Take at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) with moderately intense aerobic activity every week that increases heart rhythm and makes you sweating. Fast walking, cycling (with a helmet), swimming and playing tennis or basketball are fun choices that you can do with others for support.
You can spread 150 minutes in short strokes during the week. Whether cottage or courtyard chores quickly, walk the dog at a fast pace or dancing with your favorite music for at least 10 minutes simultaneously.
Aim 300 minutes (5 hours) of aerobic activity per week to prevent a gradual increase in body weight in adulthood. If you are in a healthy weight now but are being used to be overweight or obese, experts encourage 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day to maintain weight.
Most adults do not need to see their doctor before starting a physical activity program. However, those who need to see the doctor include men over 40 years old and women older than 50 who plan a vigorous program or who have a serious health or risk factors for a serious health condition.
Eating healthy foods has vital health benefits, including weight loss. To start eating better, try the following tips:
- Eat rainbow food. Make half of what is on the plate is fruit and vegetables.
- Replace processed grains with whole grains, such as oats, bread from whole wheat and brown rice.
- Get proteins from healthy sources like seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, unsalted walnuts, and seeds.
- Instead of juicy drinks, choose unsweetened tea, low-fat milk or water.
Remember, weight control is a lifelong effort. Starting now with small steps you can improve your health. The Healthy Nutrition Plan and regular physical activity can be steps towards healthier you .