Obesity is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. However, few people understand what it means to be “obese” or “overweight,” along with the most effective ways to drive weight loss, increase physical activity, and follow a healthy diet.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity involves the storage of an excess amount of body fat. Comparatively, being “overweight” refers to having an excess of body weight; excess weight can come from bone, fat, muscles, and water, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) notes.
The body mass index (BMI) is commonly used to determine whether an individual is overweight or obese. For adults, a BMI that ranges from 25 to 29.9 is considered “overweight,” a BMI of 30 to 39.9 is “obese,” and an individual is considered morbidly obese if he or she is 100 pounds over his/her ideal body weight, has a BMI of 40 or more, or 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Obesity typically occurs due to an energy imbalance; the body needs a specific amount of energy (calories) from food to function optimally and perform basic life functions. If the number of calories a person consumes is greater than the amount of energy that he or she burns, food energy will be stored in the body primarily as fat, which leads to weight gain and if not corrected, obesity.
According to NIH, other factors that may lead to obesity include:
- Genes: Studies have shown an individual’s genes may increase his or her risk of obesity, and genes may cause obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.
- Poor Eating Habits: Eating processed or fast foods that are high in fat; not eating a variety of fruits and vegetables; eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and high-sugar foods; drinking too much alcohol; and/or eating larger-than-average food portions can increase an individual’s risk of becoming obese.
- Life Habits: A lack of regular exercise and/or physical activity means individuals are unlikely to expend the energy provided by foods they eat, resulting in energy being stored as fat throughout the body.
- Income: Recent research shows individuals with lower income and/or education levels are more likely to be obese than those who are more educated and earn more money.
- Attitudes and Emotions: Anger, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders may lead to binge eating that causes obesity. Meanwhile, being obese or overweight frequently results in psychological disorders.
- How and Where People Live: A recent Pew Research Center study indicated obesity rates are influenced by gender, race, ethnicity, and other socioeconomic factors.
It also is important to keep in mind that both adults and children are affected by obesity, and rates are increasing in people of all ages. The “obesity epidemic” affects nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the United States, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). About 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, the AHA reports. Furthermore, the AHA states nearly 17 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 19 years old are obese, and 32 percent of kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese. It is also estimated that 80% of obese children become obese adults.
How Can Obesity Affect a Person’s Health?
The most common health problems associated with obesity are:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Reduced mobility
The AHA points out being obese can increase an individual’s blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce a person’s “good” (HDL) cholesterol. In addition, obese individuals may be more susceptible to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and osteoarthritis than others who are not overweight or obese. Obesity has even been associated with certain types of cancer, including breast, colon, and kidney varieties.
There is no surefire cause for obesity, and much in the same vein, there is no silver-bullet cure for it. Weight loss pills are no “quick fix” and can actually be dangerous to one’s health. Side effects may include agitation, high blood pressure; increased heart rate, sleeplessness, and liver damage. However, the combination of behavioral modification, diet, and exercise can help an individual keep his or her weight in check.
For obese individuals, participation in a medically supervised weight loss program is ideal, the AHA notes. This program will require an individual to eat fewer calories than what the body needs, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and change unhealthy behaviors.
If one chooses not to enroll in a medically-supervised weight loss program, there are practical changes one can make in a DIY approach. These changes include:
- Drink a Sufficient Amount of Water Daily: Water helps boost the metabolism. The daily recommended amount of water is eight 8-oz. glasses per day, and following this recommendation may help a person burn off more calories. The extra water may promote a “full” feeling.
- Avoid Excess Sugar Consumption: Sugar increases a person’s risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other long-term health problems. As such, for those who want to shed weight, eliminating sugar from the diet is ideal.
- Cut Back on Refined Carbohydrates: White bread, pasta, and other foods that contain refined carbohydrates may cause a person’s blood sugar to spike rapidly, resulting in frequent food cravings. Therefore, it may be beneficial to reduce or eliminate refined carbs from a diet to drive weight loss.
- Exercise Portion Control: Keep a food diary or count calories as needed. That way, an individual will understand all of the foods that he or she consumes on a daily basis and can make healthy food choices.
- Enjoy Healthy Snacks: Yogurt, fruits, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and other healthy snacks can help a person combat his or her hunger pangs. At the same time, these foods – in moderate portion sizes– are unlikely to hamper a person’s quest to get to his or her ideal weight.
A person who wants to ward off obesity should consult with a doctor prior to making any drastic dietary or lifestyle changes, too. Then, this individual can gain the insights that he or she needs to combat obesity both now and in the future.
Can Bovine Colostrum Help Drive Weight Loss?
Colostrum-LD® from Sovereign Laboratories can be used in combination with weight loss and exercise programs. Taken on an empty stomach multiple times daily can help curb cravings naturally. It is the only bovine colostrum supplement that has been utilized in clinical trials and contains verified quantities of the bioactives involved in healthy metabolism. To learn more about Colostrum-LD®, please check out our blog or visit our website.