Obesity – A life style disease

Today’s Lifestyle is a Disease in itself. Everybody naturally has to die of something .Modern science through improved sanitation, vaccination, and antibiotics, and medical attention has eliminated the threat of death from most infectious diseases, but lifestyle diseases take people before their time. Too many people are dying relatively young from obesity,Diabetes,Heart Disease and Cancer and other lifestyle diseases in modern times This means that death from lifestyle diseases like heart disease and cancer are now the primary causes of death.

What are life style diseases?

Life Style Diseases are diseases you get as a result of the way you live. Many of these diseases are related to the social, cultural, religious and ethnic norms of your community and also its economic status. The World health Organization (WHO) has identified India as one of the nations that is going to have most of the lifestyle disorders in the near future. Nowadays, not only are lifestyle disorders becoming more common, but they are also affecting younger population. Hence, the population at risk shifts from 40+ to maybe 30+ or even younger. According to doctors say, a sedentary lifestyle combined with an increase in the consumption of fatty food and alcohol is to blame cases of obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc.
These are different from other diseases because they are potentially preventable, and can be lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle, and environment.
Overweight and obesity Obesity is a condition in which the natural energy reserve, stored in the fatty tissue of humans and other mammals, is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality. It is a form of malnutrition. Excess body weight, known as overweight and obesity, is a risk factor for many conditions. Obesity is both an individual clinical condition and is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem. Excessive body weight has been shown to predispose to various diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis Excess body weight can be measured using the body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2). A BMI of over 25 is overweight; a BMI of over 30 is obese.

Causes of Obesity

  1. Overeating

Obesity results when the lifetime energy intake exceeds lifetime energy expenditure by more than it does for individuals of “normal weight”. When food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat cells (and to a lesser extent muscle and
liver cells) throughout the body take in the energy and store it as fat.

2. Other Factors

There are other factors that contribute to obesity. Some of these are beyond your control.

  • Your genes and some genetic disorders.
  • Underlying illness (e.g. hypothyroidism – The Thyroid Glands produces insufficient hormone (thyroxine)
  • Eating disorders (e.g., binge eating disorder as in bulimia)
  • Certain medications (e.g., some antipsychotics, some fertility medication)
  • Sedentary lifestyle – The individual sits or lies down most of the day
  • A high glycemic diet (i.e., a diet that consists of meals that give high blood sugar)
  • Weight cycling, caused by repeated attempts to lose weight by dieting
  • Stressful mentality
  •  Insufficient sleep
  • Smoking cessation

Measuring Obesity


The figure at the far right is most obese, the measure used here is waist circumference

Using the Skin Fold Test to determine the Amount of Body Fat

Another way of measuring obesity is to determine the amount of body fat. Doctors and scientists generally agree that men with more than 25% body fat and women with more than 30% body fat are obese. However, it is difficult to measure body fat precisely. The most accepted method has been to weigh a person underwater, but underwater weighing is a procedure limited to laboratories with special equipment. Two simpler methods for measuring body fat are the skinfold test, in which a pinch of skin is precisely measured to determine the thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer

Effects on Health :

Obesity, especially central obesity (male-type or waist-predominant obesity) is an important risk factor that predisposes the individual for cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (combined hyperlipidemia).