- More than 1 in 3 adults is considered obese.
- About 1⁄3 of children or adolescents (age 6 to 19) are considered overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 6 children or adolescents (age 6 to 19) is considered obese.
- Obesity increases your risk for heart disease- the #1 killer of both men and women in the U.S.
- One study suggests that 4% of some cancers in men and 7% of some cancers in women are caused by obesity.
Facts: Obesity is the condition of having excess body fat. There are different reasons why obesity occurs, but if not taken care of, obesity can lead to many health problems. Obesity can occur from:
- Lack of physical activity. If you don’t move, you’re not burning many calories, and those calories can add up. Moderate exercise can help decrease obesity. Start slow by walking; wearing a fitness tracker like a Fitbit can help you understand how much you move each day.
- Unhealthy eating habits. Taking in more calories than you need contributes to excess weight on your body. Unhealthy eating isn’t just fast food intake. If you’re taking in too many carbohydrates, limited vegetables and fruit, and skipping breakfast, you’re contributing to your weight increase. Try keeping a food journal to understand how much food you intake.
- Lack of sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, your hormones fluctuate which can lead to food cravings. Craving foods high in carbohydrates or extra calories does not help when trying to fight obesity. Get a good night’s sleep to help reduce cravings.
- Some medications. Some medications can cause you to gain weight. Compensate these measures with proper diet and exercise. Talk with your doctor about solutions if you can’t seem to shake off the pounds.
- Pregnancy. A woman gains weight out of necessity while pregnant. After pregnancy, it may be difficult to lose the weight gained, which can lead to obesity.
- Medical conditions. There are a few medical conditions (Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome etc.) that can contribute to weight gain. A low metabolism or a thyroid problem is unlikely to cause obesity.
Did you know? There is a difference between being overweight and being obese. While both indicate the necessity to lose extra weight, being overweight means there is excess weight from muscle, bone, fat, and water. An adult with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. Obesity means having excess fat. Obesity is classified as an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI calculates a relationship between height and weight.
Note: BMI is a general measure of body fat. Some people, such as athletes, may have a high BMI due to muscle mass. Consult with your doctor to discuss any health issues.
What You Can Do?
The best thing you can do to combat obesity is to live a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet filled with fruits and veggies will help prevent obesity and start you down the path to losing weight. Combine your healthy eating habits with physical activity to really kick-start your health. In addition, you can enlist a friend, family member, or other supporters to help encourage you on your path to health. Keep a record to see which foods you eat more than you should, and try to eliminate food triggers that cause you to overeat. Above all, stay positive and keep encouragements around to help you reach your goal.
If you are struggling with your weight, talk to your primary care physician for advice to help you take control of your health.