Weight management is a long-term approach to a healthy lifestyle. It includes a balance of healthy eating and physical exercise to equate energy expenditure and energy intake. Developing healthy eating habits while using tips that will keep us fuller longer can be useful tools in weight management. Knowing what your body needs is important to weight management and can control overconsumption and under consumption of food.

What is Obesity?

The definition of obesity varies depending on what one reads. In general, overweight and obesity indicate a weight greater than what is considered healthy. Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess amount of body fat. A certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions.

Obesity is an excess of body fat. It is difficult to directly measure body fat. Body mass index (BMI) is a popular method of defining a healthy weight. BMI should be used as a guide, along with waist size, to help estimate the amount of body fat.

BMI estimates a healthy weight based on your height. Because it considers height as well as weight, it is a more accurate guide than body weight alone.


Some of the most common reasons for obesity are:

  • Genetic influences: Your genetic makeup plays a significant role in your chances of becoming obese. However, you still maintain most of the control when it comes to your weight.
  • Physiological influences: Some researchers believe that every person has a predetermined weight that the body resists moving away from. Also, people of the same age, sex and body size often have different metabolic rates. This means their bodies’ burn food differently. Someone with a low metabolic rate may require fewer calories to maintain approximately the same weight as someone whose metabolic rate is high.
  • Food intake and eating disorders: : If you eat a lot, especially foods that are high in fat and calories, you can become obese. Obesity also can result from eating disorders, such as a tendency to binge.
  • Lifestyle: If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are at a higher risk of becoming obese.
  • Your weight history: If you were overweight as a child or adolescent, you are more likely to be obese as an adult.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy can contribute to obesity. Many women weigh more after each pregnancy.
  • Drugs: Some drugs can cause obesity. These include steroid hormones and many drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.
  • Emotions: Some people overeat because of depression, hopelessness, anger, boredom, and many other reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. This doesn't mean that overweight and obese people have more emotional problems than other people. It just means that their feelings influence their eating habits, causing them to overeat.
  • Diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing's syndrome are also contributors to obesity.
  • Social issues: A link between social issues and obesity has been established. Lack of money to purchase healthy foods or lack of safe places to walk or exercise can increase the risk of obesity.

Symptoms and Complications

The health risks associated with obesity include:

  • Breathing disorders (e.g., sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Certain types of cancers (e.g., prostate and bowel cancer in men, breast and uterine cancer in women)
  • Coronary artery (heart) disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Gallbladder or liver disease
  • Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Joint disease (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • Stroke

Aside from the medical complications, obesity is also linked to psychosocial problems such as low self-esteem, discrimination, difficulty finding employment, and reduced quality of life.

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