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If you are obese or overweight, you have an increased risk of developing various health problems, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Even a modest amount of weight loss can help to reduce your increased health risks. The best chance of losing weight and keeping the weight off, is to be committed to a change in lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet and doing some regular physical activity. Obesity is the medical term for being very overweight.
If you are obese or overweight, this means that you are carrying excess body fat. Being overweight or obese is not just about how you look. Over time, it means that you have an increased risk of developing various health problems. As an adult, you can find out whether you are overweight or obese and whether your health may be at risk, by calculating your body mass index BMI and measuring your waist circumference. See the separate leaflet called Childhood Obesity. People are different heights and builds, so just weighing yourself cannot be used to decide if your weight is healthy.
BMI is used by healthcare professionals to assess if someone's weight is putting their health at risk. It is a measure of your weight related to your height. To calculate your BMI, you divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres. So, for example, if you weigh 70 kg and are 1.
If you do not have scales at home, your practice nurse can measure your height, weigh you and calculate your BMI. The more overweight you are, the more the risk to your health. For those who are obese Grade IIIweight is a serious and imminent threat to health. Broadly, the health risks increase the higher the BMI. However, for those who are overweight or obese Grade Iwaist circumference is also taken into to calculate the risk to health.
On the whole, BMI is a good estimate of how much of your body is made up of fat. However, BMI may be less accurate in very muscular people. This is because muscle weighs heavier than fat. So, someone who is very muscular may have a relatively high BMI due to the weight of their muscle bulk but actually have a proportionally low and healthy amount of body fat.
Also in people originally from Asia, the risk to health is higher at lower BMI measurements. Health risks are also calculated differently in older people. If you are overweight, measuring your waist circumference can also Smoke drink fat adult girlss some information about your risk of developing health problems particularly cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
If two overweight or obese people have the same BMI, the person with a bigger waist circumference will be at a greater risk of developing health problems due to their weight. This is because it is not just whether you are carrying excess fat but where you are carrying it. The risks to your health are greater if you mainly carry a lot of extra fat around your waist 'apple-shaped'rather than mainly on your hips and thighs 'pear-shaped'.
The easiest way to measure your waist circumference is to place the tape measure around your waist at belly button level. For people who are overweight, or obese Grade Iwaist circumference is taken into with BMI when assessing health risk. If you have a very high waist circumference, you may have a very high level of risk to your health even at the lower grades of obesity. If you have other medical conditions such as diabeteshigh blood pressurehigh cholesterol levelsor coronary heart diseaseyour risks are even higher.
Weight loss is even more crucial. But rates of o Many people can also develop psychological problems because of being overweight or obese. For example: low self-esteem; not liking how you look poor self-image ; low confidence; feelings of isolation. These feelings may affect your relationships with family members and friends and, if they become severe, may lead to depression.
Being obese can also affect your overall life expectancy: you are more likely to die at a younger age. An analysis of all relevant studies in showed that you are ificantly more likely to die younger if you have a BMI of 35 or more.
Another analysis showed that if you are a woman with a BMI of 30 or more at the age of 40, you are likely to die 7. If you are a man with a BMI of 30 or more at the age of 40, you are likely to die 5. If you smoke as well, your life expectancy is reduced even further. This means most people in England are overweight or obese. Figures in the rest of the UK are similar. The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Western Europe.
The of obese people in the UK has been rising rapidly over a period Smoke drink fat adult girlss 30 years. This has been called the obesity epidemic. Not only is it a health risk to the individual, but it causes a great cost to society as a whole.
Overall cost to the economy is much higher. In some respects, the cause sounds quite simple. Your weight depends on how much energy you take in the calories in food and drink and how much energy your body uses burns up:. Research shows that there are many complex interactions that go on inside the body that work together to keep body weight the same.
These interactions involve connections between the nerves and the brain and several hormones, including insulin.
The medical term for this is homeostatic feedback. For example:. In other words the body adjusts how much energy you use up depending on how many calories you eat. What seems to be important in making us obese is that particular foods can easily over-ride these natural feedback mechanisms for keeping us the same weight. High-sugar and high-fat foods taste great and give us pleasure; by triggering the 'reward' centre in our brain, they may be especially good at over-riding these controls. Refined carbohydrates, fructose and sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked with low levels of feeling full satietydifficulty controlling our appetite and a lack of excess energy to make up for the extra calories calories consumed.
Most people in the UK live where tasty food can be found at almost any time of day or night. Many of the foods that people eat are those higher in calories particularly fatty and sugary foodsso-called energy-dense foods. Although your body gives you a feeling of fullness after eating enough satietyyou can easily ignore this feeling if you are enjoying tasty foods. Food portion sizes in general have increased. There has also been a tendency to eat out more over recent years. If you eat out, you are more likely to eat food that is more energy-dense than you would eat at home.
The amount of processed foods and ready-made meals available has also increased in response to our busy lives. These are often foods that are more energy-dense as well. However, even healthy foods contain calories and can tip the energy balance if we eat too much of them. What you drink is also important. Alcohol and sugary drinks contain a lot of calories.
Even fresh fruit juices that you may think are healthy can contribute to weight gain. This is thought to be due to the quick release of sugar that they give because the fibre naturally found in fruits is destroyed by juicing them. Where does physical activity fit in to your current lifestyle? Most people in the UK do not do enough physical activity.
Fewer people these days have jobs which are energetic. The variety of labour-saving devices and gadgets in most homes and the overuse of cars, mean that most people end up using up much less energy compared with generations. The average person in the UK watches 26 hours of television per week and many even more the 'couch potato syndrome'. A lack of physical activity by many people is thought to be a major cause of the increase in obesity in recent years.
There is no doubt that exercise is good for us; it lowers our risks of heart disease and stroke, amongst others. However, there is debate, due to the mechanisms explained above, that unless we are doing a lot of exercise it may not always help with weight loss. You are more likely to be obese if one of your parents is obese, or both of your parents are obese. This may partly be due to learning bad eating habits from your parents.
But, some people inherit a tendency in their genes that makes them prone to overeat. So, for some people, part of the problem is genetic. It is not fully understood how this genetic factor works. It has something to do with the control of appetite.
When you eat, certain hormones and brain chemicals send messages to parts of your brain to say that you have had enough and to stop eating. In some people, this control of appetite and the feeling of fullness satiety may be faulty, or not as good as it is in others. However, if you do inherit a tendency to overeat, it is not inevitable that you will become overweight or obese. You can learn about the power of your appetite, and ways to resist it and be Smoke drink fat adult girlss on what you eat.
But you are likely to struggle more than most people where your weight is concerned. You may find it more difficult to stop yourself from gaining weight or to lose weight.
Scientists have started to identify genes which may be involved in obesity. This may help them find effective treatments in the future. Very few obese people have a 'medical' cause for their obesity. For example, conditions such as Cushing's syndrome and an underactive thyroid gland are rare causes of weight gain, until they are treated. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may also be overweight. Some medicines such as steroidssome antidepressants, some treatments for epilepsy and diabetes, and the contraceptive injection may contribute to weight gain.
If you give up smoking, your appetite may increase and, as a result, you may put on weight. People with low mood or depression may also have a tendency to eat more energy-dense 'comfort' foods and so gain weight. Find a range of services to suit you, from medication through to managed programs. It is difficult to measure how much quality of life is improved if you lose some weight. Many people feel better and have more energy. Some people notice an improvement in their self-esteem.
But there are also definite health benefits from losing some weight.
As explained above, many diseases are more common in obese and overweight people and you are less likely to develop them if you lose some weight. If your BMI is more than 35, you are more likely already to have health problems related to being overweight. If you are worried that you are overweight or obese, you should discuss this with your practice nurse or doctor. They may be able to determine if your weight is already affecting your health. For example, they may start by checking whether you have any symptoms of coronary heart disease such as chest pains, particularly on exertion.
They may also ask about any symptoms of osteoarthritis such as back pain or t pains, or any symptoms of sleep apnoea. This occurs when your breathing patterns are disturbed while you are sleeping, due to excess weight around your chest, neck and airways. They may suggest some tests to screen for any underlying health problems that may be caused by your weight. For example, they may suggest:. Other blood tests are sometimes suggested to look for other problems such as an underactive thyroid gland or liver problems. As mentioned above, quite often it can also be the case that if someone is overweight or obese, this can lead to psychological problems.
So, your doctor or nurse may also ask you questions to look for any s of these. Note : your doctor or practice nurse may also be Smoke drink fat adult girlss source of help if you would like to lose weight see below. Some people lose weight by strict dieting for a short period.Smoke drink fat adult girlss
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