The risk of being obese
Women's Health - womens health articles

Being at a normal weight does not mean looking a certain way, it's defined by feeling good and staying healthy. As well as being obese and being overweight is not exactly the same thing. It is important to understand the difference: an obese person has a large amount of extra body fat, not just a few extra pounds. Having way too much body fat can be harmful in many ways.

To determine if someone is overweight or obese, specialists have a range of tests and calculate the body mass index (BMI), comparing a person's height and weight and confronting it with numbers in a chart. A person with a Body Mass Index between the 85th and 95th percentiles is considered at risk for overweight. Obesity is the term used for extreme overweight.

People gain weight when the body takes in more calories than it burns off, those extra calories being stored as fat. This does not happen in a few weeks or months. Because being obese is more than just being a few pounds overweight, people who are obese have usually been getting more calories than they needed for years.

Obesity can also run in families, but how much is due to genes is hard to determine. Sometimes even emotions can fuel obesity as well. People tend to eat more when they are upset, anxious, sad, stressed out, or just bored. This can turn to a vicious circle, because after they ate too much, they may feel bad about it and may eat more to deal with those bad feelings.

One of the most important factors in weight gain is having a sedentary lifestyle. People are much less active today than they used to be, with all ultimate gadgets at our hands and cars dominating our lives. Did you notice that fewer people walk or ride bikes to get somewhere? As we involve more, the busier we become and the less we pay attention to ourselves. We do not even have time for a proper, healthy meal, so more and more people eat out at restaurants, grab takeout food, or buy fast foods. All of these can contain lots more fat and calories than meals prepared from fresh foods at our home.

And as the list goes on and time passes, inattention can lead to fat gaining and at a moment we have to face the consequences and concomitant risks. Obesity is bad news for both body and mind, not only makes a person feel tired and uncomfortable, it can wear down joints and put extra stress on other parts of the body. When a person is carrying extra weight, it's harder to keep up with friends, play sports. It is also associated with breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea and some serious problems involving hips and knee joints that may require surgery. Obesity does not regard age and can cause illnesses that once were thought to be problems only for adults, such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, liver disease and type 2 diabetes, a disease in which the body has trouble converting food to energy, resulting in high blood sugar levels. As they grow older, people who are obese are more likely to develop heart disease, congestive heart failure, bladder problems and regarding women, problems with the reproductive system. Extreme weight can also lead to stroke, greater risk for certain cancers and even death. In addition to some other potential problems, people who are obese are more likely to feel depressed.

The most important and also good news is that it's never too late to make changes in our lifestyle. Reforming eating and exercise habits to control your weight are easier than we think it might be. It depends on you; it is all about you, so why not start today if you feel like it.

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