Obesity is the condition of being extremely overweight and may affect someone as a child or as an adult. It has to be noted that body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30 indicates that one is overweight while that which is 30 and above implies that the person is obese. Obesity causes medical and psychological health problems besides social and economical effects. According to Schoenstadt, having a body mass index over 30 indicates that one is at risk of various health complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, gout, some cancers, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea, high cholesterol besides emotional and psychological effects. Obesity causes a lot of medical health complications that result either from high levels of body fats or the sheer weight, besides psychological health problems.
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One of the common diseases among obese adults is type 2 diabetes. The time for onset for type 2 diabetes is in adulthood and its severity makes many people die prematurely. A study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health found out that compared to people who had a normal BMI of 25 and below, men and women with high BMI of 30 and above had seven times and twelve times more possibility of developing diabetes respectively. The implication is that women, compared to men, are more at risk to suffer from diabetes if they are obese. Being overweight stresses the removal of excess sugar from the blood. The insulin produced is not sufficient to carry sugar from the blood to cells where it is normally used to produce energy. Fat cells cause inflammation that makes the body to respond poorly to insulin leading to inability of the body to metabolize fats and blood sugar (Harvard School of Public Health).
Heart disease is another ailment among obese people and it kills many of them. These are diseases that affect the heart or the blood vessels in the heart such as coronary artery disease (CAD). Obese people normally have high levels of fat that cause inflammation in the blood vessels in the heart and throughout the body. A study reported by Harvard school of Public Health states that excess weight affects the blood pressure and cholesterol resulting in half of the reported cases of CAD among the obese. Obesity is similarly related to stroke and cardiovascular death. The relation of obesity and cancer has been established through studies like one done in 2007 that linked obesity with cancer of the kidney, prostrate, breast, esophagus, colon, rectum, among others (Harvard School of Public Health). Obese men are normally affected by the colon and prostrate cancer and women are more likely to suffer from the rest of the cancers.
Obesity is also associated with infertility, especially in women where those with BMIs between 20 and 24 are normally fertile while those with higher BMIs are less fertile (Harvard School of Public Health). Obesity also causes respiratory complications due to the visceral fats that restrict the flexibility of the chest wall and narrow lung’s airways, and abdominal fats that limit lung expansion by holding up the diaphragm. Sleep apnea- a condition where people ere unable to breath for some moments is related to respiratory complications. This causes deep snoring and makes people lack ability to sleep at night and they are only able to do so during the day time (Stanford Hospital and Clinics).
According to Harvard school of public health, a healthy weight is ideal for proper functioning of the brain, heart, muscles, bones and other body components. Consequently an unhealthy weight, such as that in obese people, impairs the functioning of the respective body parts. Excess weight of obese people strains their mechanical musculoskeletal functioning. The obese report many cases of knee and hips problems due to the extra weight they have to support (Stanford Hospital and Clinics). People with obesity constantly report of experiencing back pain, pain in the lower limbs and have high level of disability arising from musculoskeletal problems. Obesity increases the risk of knee and hip osteoarthritis leading to corrective or replacement operations (Harvard School of Public Health).
The psychological health effects include lowered self esteem, affected social interaction, poor body image, depression and anxiety. Psychologists have established that there are higher levels of depression among obese people than there is among people with normal weight. The psychological effects are reflected in the coping behavior that obese individuals, especially young females adopt. Young obese girls engage in binge eating due to the anxiety and depression. They seem to have given up on their body image due to low self esteem. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that the relation of depression and obesity is a two way street. The study reported yielded that people who were initially obese had a 55% higher probability of developing depression while those who had depression initially were 58% more likely to become obese compared to control groups.
There is a relationship between obesity and mood. The psychological health effects accrue from years of discrimination society directs at obese people. According to NYU, obese people are made self conscious by the society that believes that their condition is due to lack of self-discipline and strong will. Society has been discriminating obese people such as denying them promotions in places of work as they try to adhere to a narrow perception that slimness is glamorous. People who are obese often suffer disadvantages in a society that associates physical attractiveness with extreme thinness (Stanford Hospital and Clinics). The result is a feeling of being left out from society and this breeds low self esteem, depression and anxiety. These ill conditions directly lead people to have below average performance and they end up having low incomes or without romantic partners. The obese may also stay away from public places as they fear being seen, they think they are unattractive, think they would be taunted due to their weights and that employers will always discriminate against them (NYU). These perceptions serve only to deepen the depression suffered by the obese. The effects of obesity vary but they all cause decreased quality of life due to the health and psychological complications.
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