What is Obesity?
Obesity is now recognized as an epidemic in the United States, and is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The BMI is a measure of the proportion of body fat to your non-fatty tissue. The higher your BMI, the greater the proportion of fat in your body.
Obesity is not a cosmetic issue; it is a serious medical condition that contributes to a complex set of illnesses that comprise metabolic syndrome. It increases the likelihood of developing other serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea commonly afflicts those who are obese.
Genetics plays a role in determining how your body stores and processes fat.
Heredity is also a factor: obesity tends to run in families.
Smoking cessation often leads to weight gain, but the benefits of smoking cessation more than offset this risk.
Lifestyle choices like activity level and diet are significant factors, as is the amount and quality of sleep you get each night.
Age: as we age, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle affect weight gain.
Treatment for Obesity
Lifestyle changes like adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise are important in controlling obesity.
Prescription medications to reduce appetite, speed metabolism, or shed fat are also used to reduce weight.
For morbidly obese patients, bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, stapling) is also an option.