Learn About Obesity

What is the definition of Obesity?

Obesity means weighing more than what is healthy for a given height. Obesity is a serious, chronic disease. It can lead to other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

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What are the alternative names for Obesity?

Morbid obesity; Fat - obese

What are the causes of Obesity?

Taking in more calories than your body uses can lead to obesity. This is because the body stores unused calories as fat. Obesity can be caused by:

  • Eating more food than your body can use
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not getting enough exercise

Many people with obesity who lose large amounts of weight and gain it back think it is their fault. They blame themselves for not having the willpower to keep the weight off. Many people regain more weight than they lost.

Today, we know that biology is a big reason why some people cannot keep the weight off. Some people who live in the same place and eat the same foods develop obesity, while others do not. Our bodies have a complex system to keep our weight at a healthy level. In some people, this system does not work as well as it should.

The way we eat when we are children can affect the way we eat as adults.

The way we eat over many years becomes a habit. It affects what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.

We may feel that we are surrounded by things that make it easy to overeat and hard to stay active.

  • Many people feel they do not have time to plan and make healthy meals.
  • More people today work desk jobs compared to more active jobs in the past.
  • People with little free time may have less time to exercise.

The term eating disorder means a group of medical conditions that have an unhealthy focus on eating, dieting, losing or gaining weight, and body image. A person may have obesity, follow an unhealthy diet, and have an eating disorder all at the same time.

Sometimes, medical problems or treatments cause or contribute to weight gain, including:

  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Medicines such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and antipsychotics

Other things that can cause weight gain are:

  • Quitting smoking -- Many people who quit smoking gain 4 to 10 pounds (lb) or 2 to 5 kilograms (kg) in the first 6 months after quitting.
  • Stress, anxiety, feeling sad, or not sleeping well.
  • Menopause -- Women may gain 12 to 15 lb (5.5 to 7 kg) during menopause.
  • Pregnancy -- Women may not lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.
Childhood obesity
What are the current treatments for Obesity?

CHANGING YOUR LIFESTYLE

An active lifestyle and plenty of exercise, along with healthy eating, is the safest way to lose weight. Even modest weight loss can improve your health. You may need a lot of support from family and friends.

Your main goal should be to learn new, healthy ways of eating and make them part of your daily routine.

Many people find it hard to change their eating habits and behaviors. You may have practiced some habits for so long that you may not even know they are unhealthy, or you do them without thinking. You need to be motivated to make lifestyle changes. Make the behavior change part of your life over the long term. Know that it takes time to make and keep a change in your lifestyle.

Work with your provider and dietitian to set realistic, safe daily calorie counts that help you lose weight while staying healthy. Remember that if you drop weight slowly and steadily, you are more likely to keep it off. Your dietitian can teach you about:

  • Healthy food choices at home and in restaurants
  • Healthy snacks
  • Reading nutrition labels and healthy grocery shopping
  • New ways to prepare food
  • Portion sizes
  • Sweetened drinks

Extreme diets (fewer than 1,100 calories per day) are not thought to be safe or to work very well. These types of diets often do not contain enough vitamins and minerals. Most people who lose weight this way return to overeating and develop obesity again.

Learn ways to manage stress other than snacking. Examples may be meditation, yoga, or exercise. If you are depressed or stressed a lot, talk to your provider.

MEDICINES AND HERBAL REMEDIES

You may see ads for supplements and herbal remedies that claim they will help you lose weight. Some of these claims may not be true. And some of these supplements can have serious side effects. Talk to your provider before using them.

You can discuss weight loss medicines with your provider. Many people lose at least 5 lb (2 kg) by taking these drugs, but they may regain the weight when they stop taking the medicine unless they have made lifestyle changes.

SURGERY

Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery can reduce the risk of certain diseases in people with severe obesity. These risks include:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Some cancers
  • Stroke

Surgery may help people who have had obesity for 5 years or more and have not lost weight from other treatments, such as diet, exercise, or medicine.

Surgery alone is not the answer for weight loss. It can train you to eat less, but you still have to do much of the work. You must be committed to diet and exercise after surgery. Talk to your provider to learn if surgery is a good option for you.

Weight-loss surgeries include:

  • Laparoscopic gastric banding
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Duodenal switch
Who are the top Obesity Local Doctors?
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What are the support groups for Obesity?

Many people find it easier to follow a diet and exercise program if they join a group of people with similar problems.

More information and support for people with obesity and their families can be found at: Obesity Action Coalition -- www.obesityaction.org/community/find-support-connect/find-a-support-group/.

What are the possible complications of Obesity?

Obesity is a major health threat. The extra weight creates many risks to your health.

Childhood obesity
Obesity and health
What are the latest Obesity Clinical Trials?
Ovarian Ultrasonography for the Clinical Evaluation of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Summary: The investigators would like to determine how aspects of adiposity and age influence ultrasound features of the ovaries which are used to diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The study will also compare anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels against ultrasound features of the ovary to predict PCOS.

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Metabolic and Molecular Responses Under the Effect of Taurine Supplementation With and Without Multicomponent Training in Elderly Women With Sarcopenic Obesity Using the Metabolomics Approach

Summary: Sarcopenic obesity is characterized by a progressive decline in muscle mass and an increase in body fat, a condition especially present in the elderly. A significant improvement in metabolic parameters has been observed with the completion of taurine supplementation and also with the practice of physical exercise, but there are no studies associating the interventions mentioned above with the aim ...

What are the Latest Advances for Obesity?
Nonpharmacological Strategies in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction.
Pharmacologic Therapy for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction.
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Long-Term Outcomes of Laparoscopic Greater Curvature Plication and Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: Critical Appraisal of the Role of Gastric Plication in Bariatric Surgery.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: January 17, 2022
Published By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

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Jastreboff AM, Kotz CM, Kahan S, Kelly AS, Heymsfield SB. Obesity as a disease: The Obesity Society 2018 position statement. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019;;27(1):7-9. PMID: 30569641. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30569641/.

Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 207.

Oh TJ. The role of anti-obesity medication in prevention of diabetes and its complications. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2019;28(3):158-166. PMID: 31583380 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31583380/.

Pilitsi E, Farr OM, Polyzos SA, et al. Pharmacotherapy of obesity: available medications and drugs under investigation. Metabolism. 2019;92:170-192. PMID: 30391259 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30391259/.

Raynor HA, Champagne CM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: interventions for the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults.J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(1):129-147. PMID: 26718656 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26718656/.

Richards WO, Khatian L, Torquati A. Morbid obesity. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 21st ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2022:chap 48.

Ryan DH, Kahan S. Guideline Recommendations for obesity management. Med Clin North Am. 2018;102(1):49-63. PMID: 29156187 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29156187/.

Semlitsch T, Stigler FL, Jeitler K, Horvath K, Siebenhofer A. Management of overweight and obesity in primary care-A systematic overview of international evidence-based guidelines. Obes Rev. 2019;20(9):1218-1230. PMID: 31286668 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31286668/.