Although obesity is the result of poor diet and lifestyle choices, it is one of the most common diseases in the world, which interestingly is also most overlooked in society, and it is dismissed because of the mentioned reason. In addition to lifestyle, it can also be a result of an individual’s genetic makeup or psychology. As for obesity, it is a condition in which excess fat is accumulated around the body that can lead to other problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Obesity is a serious health concern, and here are some interesting facts about it:
1. Not the Same as Overweight
While being overweight eventually leads to obesity if one doesn’t change their lifestyle, being overweight is not the same as being obese. The difference between the two is dictated by Body Mass Index or BMI, it is measured by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters (kg/m2), and for adults, if the BMI is greater than 25, they are considered overweight. As for obesity, it is higher than 30. While experts claim that these numbers are merely guidelines, they do give us a clear idea of the threshold.
2. Taking Over Nations
Because obesity has become almost a norm in the present world, it can be hard to imagine that people used to be significantly thinner. According to a report by World Health Organization, obesity has not doubled but tripled since 1975. In 2016, 650 million adults were obese in the United States, and this number is only increasing. Children are not far behind either, in the same year, nearly 340 million children and teenagers were obese. Also, obesity rates are at 20% in each American state, which used to be under 15% two decades ago.
3. Excess is Always Bad
While starvation is another huge problem that our world is suffering from, it still kills fewer people than obesity. Experts claim that obesity is at an alarmingly high rate, and deaths caused by it are also in shocking numbers. Annually, approximately 2.8 million people lose their lives because of obesity. In the past, obesity was only linked with rich people and wealthy nations; however, it is also becoming the norm in developing countries.
4. Many Reasons
Apart from the general poor choices of lifestyle and genetics, obesity is also caused by other factors that an individual has no control over. Metabolism and hormones play a huge role in increasing or decreasing the accumulation of fat in the body. Additionally, specific conditions are often linked with a sudden increase in weight, these conditions being pregnancy and puberty. Interestingly, it is seen that people with a college degree are less likely to experience obesity. While scientists are unsure about the link, they claim it is because of how our brain changes during education.
5. Middle Ages at Risk
Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that people in the age group of 40 to 60 are at the highest risk of becoming obese. According to experts, this happens because of the changes that occur in the body at that age, during which the human body starts to accumulate more fat, and there is a steady decline in lean mass and bone density. During the mentioned age, people also experience a significant change in BMI resulting in obesity.
6. Women are More Vulnerable
In another study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women from 40 to 60 years of age are more likely to be obese than men of the same age. Nearly 40% of females in their late 40s are obese in the United States compared to only 35% obese men. Surprisingly, it was seen that women that earn more are less likely to be obese than women with low income.
7. Obesity is Expensive
Just like any other disease, obese people visit doctors quite frequently, and this is causing them to lose a huge sum of money. In the year of 2008, people were paying nearly $147 billion for obesity in the United States alone. Also, healthcare for people with obesity is 10% more expensive than for healthy individuals. Statistics become even more alarming when we look at it globally, as each year nearly $990 billion are paid in healthcare because of obesity.
8. Intermittent Fasting Helps
A study conducted by the University of California found that once people carried out intermittent fasting for 90 days, they significantly reduced their body fat. Intermittent fasting is a form of scheduled eating, which is usually once a day and fasting for the rest of the time; however, there are several variations of this method. Not only does intermittent fasting helps in reducing weight, but it also comes with health benefits such as the reduced risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
9. Surgery for Minimization
According to experts, Bariatric surgery can provide long-lasting results to people suffering from obesity. Although there are very specific criteria that make one eligible for this surgery, it is an overall positive approach, as nearly 200,000 bariatric surgeries were carried out in 2015, and 90% of them were able to shed up to 50% of their weight. This surgery is a combination of two procedures that are reducing the stomach size by removing some parts of it and placing a band on the upper stomach.