Obesity is a medical condition characterized by the accumulation of excess body fat, which leads to health problems. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in meters) in obesity patient.
Obesity is a global problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It can result in serious health complications, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It is important to note that obesity is not solely a matter of appearance. It is a significant medical condition that can decrease a person’s quality and length of life. Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and low self-esteem.
Obesity can be classified in various ways, including based on the location of fat accumulation in the body. The two primary types of obesity most commonly distinguished are android (apple-shaped) and gynoid (pear-shaped) obesity.
It is important to note that the location of fat accumulation can significantly influence the risk of developing specific health problems. For example, android obesity is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Genetic factors Genetics plays an important role in health and the presence of overweight and obesity. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to being overweight and obese. However, this does not mean that obesity is inevitable. Genetic factors influence how the body processes food and stores energy, but the environment and lifestyle also play a significant role. According to some studies, around 40-70% of the variation in body weight can be explained by genetic factors. However, this does not mean that genes are the sole factor influencing weight. Other factors such as diet and physical activity also play a role.
The environment and lifestyle are key factors in the development of obesity. Individuals living in an environment that promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, such as inadequate physical activity, an unhealthy diet, and stress, are more susceptible to being overweight and obese. In fact, changes in the environment and lifestyle over the past decades are among the primary causes of the global obesity epidemic. For example, increased accessibility and consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, combined with decreased physical activity due to a more sedentary lifestyle, are key factors in the development of obesity.
Certain medical conditions and medications can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s syndrome can lead to weight gain. Additionally, some medications, including certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta-blockers, and corticosteroids, can cause weight gain as a side effect. However, it is important to note that medical causes of obesity are rare. In most cases, obesity is the result of a combination of genetic factors, environmental influences, and lifestyle choices.
The physical symptoms of obesity can vary depending on individual differences and the degree of obesity. Some of the most common physical symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, respiratory problems, and joint and bone pain. Weight gain is the most obvious symptom of obesity. Individuals with excess weight often have an accumulation of fatty tissue, particularly around the waist and internal organs. Fatigue is another common symptom of obesity.
It can be caused by inadequate physical activity, but it can also be associated with other health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which are more prevalent in individuals with excess weight and obesity.
Obesity can significantly impact a person’s mental health. Individuals with excess weight and obesity often face discrimination and negative stereotypes, which can lead to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. These psychological issues can be particularly challenging for children and adolescents with excess weight who may experience bullying or harassment from their peers.
This can result in social isolation, low self-worth, and even the development of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Although these psychological problems are serious, they can be treated and managed. Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be highly effective in helping individuals with excess weight or obesity cope with the negative emotional consequences of their health condition.
Additionally, community and family support can play an important role in supporting individuals with excess weight or obesity. Support may include education on healthy lifestyle practices, assistance with exercise and diet, as well as help in dealing with weight-related discrimination and stigma.
Obesity is typically diagnosed by measuring the body mass index (BMI). The body mass index is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in meters).
According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. While BMI is a useful tool for assessing body weight in a large portion of the population, it may not be accurate for certain groups of people, including pregnant women, athletes, and individuals with a high muscle mass.
In addition to BMI, healthcare professionals may use other methods to assess obesity, including measuring waist circumference, analysing body fat percentage, and evaluating the health risks associated with excess weight. One example of classification in medical practice is the use of medical codes such as ICD-9 and ICD-10 to classify different types of obesity and related comorbidities. These codes help healthcare professionals determine the most appropriate treatment for each individual case.
The importance of early diagnosis Early diagnosis of obesity is crucial as it can help prevent serious health complications such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Obesity is usually diagnosed by measuring the body mass index (BMI). The body mass index is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in meters). According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.
Although BMI is a useful tool for assessing body weight in a large part of the population, it may not be accurate for certain groups of people, including pregnant women, athletes, and individuals with a high muscle mass. In addition to BMI, healthcare professionals may use other methods to assess obesity, including measuring waist circumference, analyzing body fat percentage, and evaluating the health risks associated with excess weight.
One example of classification in medical practice is the use of medical codes such as ICD-9 and ICD-10 to classify different types of obesity and related comorbidities. These codes help healthcare professionals determine the most appropriate treatment for each individual case.
Early diagnosis of obesity is important as it can help prevent serious health complications such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
61.7% of Bulgarians are overweight or obese, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO). This category includes all individuals over 18 years of age with a body mass index greater than 25. They are considered overweight, and a BMI over 30 indicates obesity. The body mass index is a primary indicator for identifying individuals with overweight and obesity. It is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.
58.67% is the proportion of people in Europe who are overweight, and in the EU it is 59.35%, as indicated by the WHO data. Only in five countries in Europe is the number of people with overweight greater than in Bulgaria, namely the Czech Republic (62.3), Greece (62.3), Israel (64.3), Malta (66.4), and England (63.7). Approximately 13% of people worldwide have obesity, and in Europe, it is 23.3%.
In Bulgaria, their proportion is 25% of the population aged 18 and over, according to WHO data. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is a chronic relapsing disease characterized by excessive accumulation of fat tissue, which poses a risk to health. Obesity is not only a condition in “wealthy” countries. Obesity is increasing among poorer countries. It predominates in poorer and more vulnerable societies.
The causes of this condition are numerous: biological, psychological, health-related, genetic, environmental factors, access to medical care, or highly processed foods. Obesity is not a result of a lack of willpower. People living with obesity are at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, obesity is a risk factor for a more severe course of COVID-19.
According to the European Commission, approximately 7% of the national budget of EU countries is spent annually on covering healthcare expenses related to obesity and its complications, which amounts to around 70 million euros in total or 1 trillion dollars worldwide.
Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases. Individuals with overweight and obesity have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and stroke. This is because the excess fat tissue can strain the heart and blood vessels, leading to increased blood pressure and reduced overall heart function.
Type 2 diabetes
Obesity is an important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. The excess fat tissue, especially when accumulated around the waist, can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin. This can result in elevated levels of glucose in the blood, which is characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
Obesity can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, and esophageal cancer. Research shows that excess fat tissue can lead to inflammation and hormonal changes that can stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
Healthy lifestyle A healthy lifestyle is a key element in preventing obesity. This includes regular physical activity, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and stress management. Physical activity helps burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. A healthy diet is also important in preventing obesity and should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while avoiding processed foods high in sugars and saturated fats.
Regular medical check-ups
Regular medical check-ups can help in the early detection and treatment of obesity. They may include measuring weight and BMI, measuring waist circumference, blood tests to check cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and other tests depending on individual risk factors and symptoms.
Education and support
Education can help people understand the risks associated with overweight and obesity and learn how to develop healthy habits. Support can come from family, friends, healthcare professionals, or support groups that can provide motivation and advice.
Lifestyle change is still the primary approach to treating obesity. This includes increasing physical activity, modifying diet, and managing stress. Increasing physical activity can help burn excess calories and maintain a healthy weight. It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Dietary changes are also important and should include healthy and balanced foods, while avoiding processed foods high in sugars and saturated fats.
Medical treatment for obesity
In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to control obesity. This may include weight loss medications that work by suppressing appetite or reducing the absorption of fat from food. However, it is important to note that weight loss medications are not suitable for everyone and may have side effects. They should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, may be an option for individuals with severe obesity who have not been able to lose weight through lifestyle changes or medical treatment. It involves various procedures that alter the size or shape of the stomach to help individuals consume less food and feel full faster. However, bariatric surgery carries risks and is not suitable for everyone. It is typically considered for individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher, or those with a BMI of 35 or higher and serious weight-related health issues.
Obesity is a serious health problem that can lead to various other conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The prevention and treatment of obesity patient require a comprehensive approach involving lifestyle changes, medical treatment, and, in some cases, surgery. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are struggling with overweight or obesity.
They can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your individual needs and goals. Compared to previous generations, we are currently facing significantly higher levels of obesity, partially due to changes in the environment and lifestyle. For example, many people spend a large portion of their time in a sedentary position, leading to decreased physical activity and increased caloric intake. However, there is good news as well.
With the right information and support, anyone can make lifestyle changes that support weight management and improve health. Whether it’s increasing physical activity, modifying diet, or reducing stress, every small progress can have a significant impact on your well-being. In conclusion, obesity is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive approach.
But with the right information, support, and efforts, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is an attainable goal. It is never too late to make changes to improve your health and well-being.