Obesity is characterized by “an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat which can be harmful to health”. Here is how to diagnose Obesity ?
It is basically the result of too much consumption of calories relative to energy expenditure, for several years. Obesity must be distinguished from being overweight , which is also overweight, but less significant. For its part, the morbid obesity is a very advance form of obesity.
You cannot rely on a person’s weight alone to determine if they are obese or overweight. Different measures are used to provide additional information and to predict the impact of obesity on health.
Body mass index (BMI): It is the most useful, although approximate, tool for measuring overweight and obesity in an adult population. This index is calculated by dividing the weight (kg) by the size squared (m 2 ). We speak of being overweight or overweight when it is between 25 and 29.9; obesity when it equals or exceeds 30 ; and morbidly obese if it equals or exceeds 40. The healthy weight corresponds to a BMI between 18.5 and 25. Click here to calculate your body mass index (BMI).
- The main disadvantage of this measurement tool is that it gives no information on the distribution of fat reserves. However, when fat is concentrated mainly in the belly region, the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease is higher than if it is concentrated in the hips and thighs, for example.
- In addition, the BMI does not make it possible to distinguish between the mass of bones , muscles (muscle mass) and fat (adipose mass). Therefore, BMI is imprecise for people with large bones or very muscular, such as athletes and bodybuilders;
Waist circumference – Often used in addition to BMI, it can detect excess fat in the abdomen. Abdominal obesity is discussed when the waist circumference is greater than 88 cm (34.5 in) for women and 102 cm (40 in) for men. In this case, the health risks ( diabetes , hypertension , dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease , etc.) considerably increases. Click here to find out how to measure your waistline .
The waist-to-hip ratio – This measurement gives an even more precise idea of the distribution of fat in the body. The ratio is high when the result is greater than 1 in men, and greater than 0.85 in women.
Researchers are working on new tools to measure excess fat. One of them, called fat mass index or IMA , is based on the measurement of hip circumference and size. However, it has not yet been proven and is therefore not used in medicine at the moment. To assess the existence of risk factors for diseases, a blood test (in particular of the lipid profile) gives the doctor valuable information.
Effects of Obesity
There’s a good reason obesity was classified as a disease a couple years ago: It can increase your risk of autoimmune diseases (conditions where the immune system attacks its own body), such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, according to experts.
Surprised? It turns out that a hormone secreted by fat tissue can create an environment that breeds inflammation and allows autoimmune diseases to flourish, according to the study. Sadly, autoimmune diseases aren’t the only downsides of obesity. Here are a few more:
Cancer: Specifically, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas, and thyroid cancer. Fat produces high levels of estrogen, which has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, and leptin (a type of adipokine), which may stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
Your child’s risk of heart disease: You already know that obesity increases your risk of heart disease, but it’s bad news for your children, too. Children of overweight or obese mothers had a 90 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death.
Sleep apnea: The effects of obesity on sleep come from the extra weight obstructing the upper airways, whether through enlarge tonsils, enlarged tongue, or an increase in neck fat, according to experts.
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