Obesity and Its Health Risks

Obesity is one of the rising problems in today’s population. It has been estimated that the number of deaths that occur with obesity is much more than those dying of underweight. Obesity is a major problem in developed and developing countries. It is associated with many comorbidities which bring about a serious health issue.

Obesity is defined as having excessive fat accumulation in the body that brings about serious health problems. The usual standard of measuring is the BMI (body mass index), this is calculated by weight divided by the square of height, and those with BMI less than 18 are considered underweight, between 18 to 24 normal and those above 24 are considered obese/ overweight.

Again, this overweight category is graded, grade 1, having a BMI of 25 – 29.9 is considered simple overweight and grade 2 having BMI 30 – 39.9 overweight or obese and grade 3 to describe a person having BMI over 40 which is termed morbid obesity. This usually is the standard for measuring obesity in adults.

For children under 5, being overweight is described as having weight for height more than two standard deviations in the WHO growth standard chart and obesityis described as having more than three standard deviation in the growth chart.

For children between 5- 19, overweight is the BMI for age more than one standard deviation in the WHO growth chart and obesity more than two standard deviation

Causes of Obesity

This is as a result of calorie intake exceeding that of calories expenditure, main reasons being taking in food that is energy dense like food with lots of sugar and fats, eating too much food, having lots of processed food, eating out often and lack of physical activity, leading a sedentary life.

Risk with Obesity

Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, people who are obese have a high risk for developing hypertension, for having high ldl, triglycerides which eventually leads to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque within blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the blood vessel, which leads to insufficiency of blood going to the heart causing myocardial infarction or brain causing stroke.

It also leads to poor quality sleep, causing sleep apnoea, fat deposition in the neck leads to narrowing of the airway that results in poor breathing and snoring can be fixed, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, gall bladder diseases, certain cancers, poor quality of life, and certain psychological problems like depression, anxiety.


Since obesity is caused by disbalance between the calorie intake and expenditure, reducing the calorie intake will significantly help in bringing the weight down, avoiding high fat and high sugar containingfood with reduced consumption of unhealthy food from outside and avoiding processed food. Decreasing the potion of food that you take and consume proteins and fibres, do not snack on unhealthy fried food rather have fruits or nuts, and along with this engage in physical activity, it is recommended for one to engage in physical activity for 3 times in a week with at least 30 min in duration. There are medications too, drugs that decrease dietary intake, absorption and increase energy output. Surgical methods include Roux-n-Y gastric bypass,gastric sleeve surgery and horizontal gastroplasty.

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